SOMERVILLE, NJ - Efforts to control and push back against the COVID-19 pandemic have been described as a "battle" or "war" with health care workers and first responders likened to :"warriors" on the "front lines."

From governors and lawmakers to clergy and CEOs, health officials, first responders and others, the words associated with epic confrontations between nations are used to draw comparisons with the loss of life on the battlefields of history.

During the celebration of mass in Hillsborough Monday morning, Deacon Chris Conroy, who served in the Air Forced during the  Vietnam conflict,  ... closed his Memorial Day sermon with these words - "We are soldiers in a war we chose not to enter." 

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The worldwide death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic as of Memorial Day, May 25, is 345,886, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; the death toll in the United States is 97,850, with 11,144 deaths in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

In less than one year, more American lives have been lost in the pandemic than the combined loss of the US military in the Vietnam and Korean wars.

According to statistics compiled by the US Veterans Administration, the total number of combat deaths from 85 armed conflicts involving the US military - including the Civil War and several battles between US Cavalry and Native Americans during the 19th century - totals 666,441.

The most lives were lost in World War II - 291,557, followed by the Civil War, 214, 908; World War I, 53,402; Vietnam War, 47,424; Korean War, 33,686; the American Revolution, 8,000; Iraq War (2003-2011), 3,836; War of 1812, 2,260; war in Afghanistan (2001-present) 1,833 and the Mexican-American War, 1,733.

Statewide, there is a total of 155,092 cases, an increase of 938 overnight, with 11,144 deaths reported, an increase of 11 since Sunday, according to the State Department of Health.

There are 1,651,254 cases in the United States, with 97,850 deaths; worldwide, there are 5.453,784 cases and 345,886 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.