JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – One million. That number is how many Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19.

President Joe Biden ordered flags at half-staff Thursday, warning against complacency across the world.

In Jefferson County, there have been almost 2,400 deaths that officials said they know of.

To put a million people into perspective, Jefferson County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Hicks said it is like erasing the cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Mobile and Hoover off of the map.

Alabama health leaders said we have come a long way from where we began in March of 2020.

“We have more tools now than we ever had before, but it’s still something we just can’t ignore,” Hicks said. “We should feel like we’re in a better position than we ever have been with the tools that we have and there’s a lot of different options out there.” 

According to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, these tools are helping to slow the pace of deaths statewide.

“If we can make sure our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed then I think we’re content. That’s probably as good as we’re going to be able to do,” Harris said. “I just hope that it stays like that.”

Harris is concerned about a recent bump in cases – the overall seven-day positivity rate is up over one and a half percent from Tuesday.

“If you are a high-risk person, please talk to your doctor about these options to prevent infection or to treat yourself early in case you do become infected,” Harris said.

Hicks and Harris told CBS 42 that they are monitoring this most recent spread across our communities.

“You don’t want to get sick enough to go to the hospital, you don’t want to be put on a ventilator, you don’t want to die,” Hicks said. “If we can stop that from happening, we’re all better off in society.”

According to Hicks, a lot of people locally are saying they have allergies and the sniffles right now. He said it is important to get checked out by a doctor to make sure it is not the flu or COVID. Both officials said now is the time to get vaccinated while we are not in a big wave of cases.