- The COVID death toll in the US surpassed 400,000 on Tuesday and is on pace to claim more American lives than World War 2.
- The coronavirus death toll is expected to hit 500,000 by mid-February.
- The U.S. has vaccinated an estimated 15.6 million Americans to date.
The U.S. this week hit another grim milestone as the coronavirus death toll in the country eclipsed 400,000 on Tuesday morning. Even more worrisome is that the death toll isn’t only increasing but also accelerating.
From March through mid-August, the number of COVID-related deaths in the U.S. stood at about 157,758. Since then, the death toll has increased by a factor of 2.5. As it stands now, the U.S. is seeing an average of 3,200 coronavirus-related deaths per day, a huge increase from July when the U.S. was seeing an average of 500 COVID-related deaths per day.
To put the 400,000 figure into context, the USA Today points out that that the coronavirus will soon be responsible for more American deaths than World War 2.
In the 1,347 days from the attack on Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, 405,399 Americans died fighting in World War II, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. In less than a quarter of that time, at least 400,022 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Before long, the only war to claim more American lives than COVID will be the Civil War which saw an estimated 655,000 deaths over a four-year period. As it stands now, the coronavirus pandemic is the third deadliest event in U.S. history behind the Civil War and the Spanish Flu of 1918 which claimed upwards of 675,000 American lives.
Incidentally, Dr. Anthony Fauci back in July warned that the overall impact of the coronavirus could rival what the U.S. experienced with the Spanish Flu about a century ago.
“If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died,” Fauci said, “that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don’t even approach that with [COVID-19] but it does have the makings of, the possibility of approaching that in seriousness.
“This is a pandemic of historic proportions,” Fauci said about COVID six months ago. “I think we can’t deny that fact. It’s something I think that when history looks back on it, it will be comparable to what we saw in 1918.”
With the U.S. having seen 65,000 COVID-related deaths in December, and with the virus surging at a record pace over the past few weeks, it stands to reason that the coronavirus death toll will eventually eclipse 500,000 by mid-February.
To this point, incoming CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, during a recent TV interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, said that the worst may be yet to come.
“By the middle of February, we expect half a million deaths in this country,” Walensky said. “And we still yet haven’t seen the ramifications of what happened from the holiday travel, from holiday gathering, in terms of high rates of hospitalizations and the deaths thereafter.”
Meanwhile, efforts are being made to accelerate vaccination efforts in the U.S. According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker, 15.6 million Americans have been vaccinated to date. It’s a slower rollout than anticipated, but Dr. Fauci remains confident that the U.S. can reach a vaccination rate of 1 million Americans per day sooner rather than later.
“One thing that’s clear is that the issue of getting 100 million doses in the first 100 days is absolutely a doable thing,” Fauci said over the weekend. “The feasibility of his goal is absolutely clear. There’s no doubt about that, that that can be done.”