MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The COVID-19 death toll in the United States reached 800,000 on Monday, and one expert believes it will likely hit 1 million at some point in 2022.

The 800,156 confirmed deaths in the nearly two years since the first known U.S. victims of COVID-19 were confirmed in February 2020 is more than any other nation in the world and a larger number than the population of Boston, Washington, D.C., or Seattle, NBC News reported. Furthermore, the rise from 700,000 to 800,000 happened in just 74 days compared with 119 days for the previous 100,000 increase in deaths.

“It’s a very sad moment, it’s mind-boggling,” Michael Rodriguez, M.D., vice chairman of the department of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, told NBC News. “We’re beyond numb.”

The death toll is expected to rise even higher on Monday as more state and local health departments provide new data. The seven-day death average in the United States was 1,092, according to the most recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, a 27.8 percent increase from the prior week, NBC News reported.

The pandemic does not appear close to slowing down, said Vin Gupta, M.D., a critical care pulmonologist and affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. He expects the U.S. death toll will reach 1 million some time next year. “That’s just the reality of the situation,” he told NBC News. “The same people who didn’t get an initial shot won’t get boosters. It’s a lot of preventable death.”

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