The U.S. Just Hit 400,000 COVID-19 Deaths In Record Time

400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

That’s more than 1 in 1,000 Americans dead from a disease that other countries have nearly eradicated.

The number of deaths is equivalent to the entire population of New Orleans, Tampa or Tulsa, and then some. It’s more than 10 times the number of Americans who died from influenza in the 2018-19 flu season and nearly six times the country’s opioid deaths each year. In terms of fatalities, it’s equivalent to 134 terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Despite repeated claims from Donald Trump’s administration over the past year that the pandemic was under control and on its way out, the pace of deaths has only sped up in recent months. It took four months for the death toll to move from 100,000 to 200,000, then three more months for it to jump to 300,000. To reach 400,000 deaths, it took less than two.

People wait in line for COVID-19 antibody testing in Whittier, California, on Jan. 13.
People wait in line for COVID-19 antibody testing in Whittier, California, on Jan. 13./FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

The coronavirus has taken a particular toll on California in the late fall and winter. It’s been especially bad in Los Angeles County, where a surge in cases has left hospitals low on oxygen supplies and beds, forcing doctors to provide care in hallways, gift shops and tents outside while making impossible choices over who will receive treatment.

While the COVID-19 vaccine options have arrived and been shown to be safe and effective, the rollout across the country has been disjointed and inconsistent state by state. As its been with nearly all facets of the pandemic since March, the Trump administration has offered little federal guidance and handed vaccine distribution off to states and local health departments, which had little in the way of funding.

President-elect Joe Biden, who’s set to be sworn in to office Wednesday, has set a goal of giving 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, though the pace will need to be twice that if the United States intends to reach herd immunity by summer.

There has been an average of 207,495 cases per day over the last week, which is a decrease of 7% from the average two weeks earlier but still among the highest case totals the U.S. has seen in the past 10 months. On Monday, at least 1,441 new coronavirus deaths and 142,587 new cases were reported across the country.

Among U.S. states, Arizona, California and South Carolina are recording the most alarming case counts. And among demographic groups, Black, Latinx and Native American people are each nearly three times as likely as white people to die from the virus.


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