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Newly released state data shows the terrible toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on Illinois residents.

From year to year, the number of people who die statewide remains relatively consistent. But that’s changed during the pandemic.

WGN Investigates has obtained new data showing an additional 28,888 people in Illinois have died in the last year-and-a-half.

Of those additional deaths, more than 23,000 were COVID-19 related.

That also means an additional 5,000 people died of other, possibly preventative causes.

Dr. Robert Murphy is a professor of infectious disease at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the executive director for The Institute for Global Health.

“For long periods of time elective surgeries, routine check-ups, mammograms, pap smears – all this preventive stuff – has been put off by many and now we’re paying the price for that,” he said.

With vaccines now widely available, Illinois’ excess death count during the month of July was lower when compared to the same period a year ago. 

Illinois is now averaging eight COVID-related deaths daily, the lowest since the pandemic began. And while hospitalizations have increased in recent months, the numbers are still much lower than during the height of the pandemic.

WGN’s Ben Bradley takes a in-depth look in his investigative piece in the video player above.