For the first time in its history, Alabama recorded more deaths than births in 2020 due to COVID-19. On Friday, Dr. Scott Harris, the state’s top health official, told reporters at a press conference in Montgomery that the state had “shrunk” last year for the first time.

“2020 is going to be the first year that we know of in the history of our state where we actually had more deaths than births,” Harris said. “Our state literally shrunk in 2020, based on the numbers that we have managed to put together, and actually by quite a bit.”

Alabama recorded 64,714 total deaths in 2020. The number is significantly higher than the 57,641 births the state recorded in the same period.

“We have data going back to the first decade of the 20th century, so more than 100 years, and that’s never happened before, nor has it ever even been close before,” Harris went on. “In World War II or during the flu pandemic of 1918, or world war one, we’ve never had a time where deaths exceed births until this past year.”

“It’s certainly possible that could happen this year as well if we continue in the same rate that we’re seeing now,” he added.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 13,210 people have died of the virus in Alabama so far.

Harris also mentioned that more than 1.9 million Alabamians are now fully vaccinated, which is around half of its population eligible for vaccination.

Last month, former President Donald Trump was booed by his supporters after he asked them to get vaccinated.

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