COVID toll hits 800,000 to close out year filled with death

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MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The death toll from COVID-19 has hit 800,000 in the U.S., bringing an end to an especially difficult year for the many families who lost loved ones during the pandemic.

Carolyn Burnett is bracing for her first Christmas without her son Chris, a beloved Kansas high school football coach whose outdoor memorial service drew hundreds.

The unvaccinated 34-year-old father of four died in September as a result of COVID-19 after nearly two weeks on a ventilator, and his loss has left a gaping hole for his family as the holidays approach.

His mother set up a special holiday shelf, filling it with a drawing of her son, his bronzed baby shoe, a candle and an ornament of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

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