The United States officially surpassed one million known Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, according to a New York Times database, a cataclysmic result that only hints at the suffering of millions more Americans mourning their parents. , children, siblings, friends and colleagues. .
“I hope the enormity of this number inspires us to do everything we can to ensure that we don’t have as bad a time in the months and years to come as we have had in the past two years. “, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, told a Boston public radio station, WGBH, earlier this month.
Some initial forecasts put the number of Americans likely to die from the virus at between 100,000 and 240,000, although officials have warned the death toll could climb if protective measures are not taken. The United States reached 100,000 in May 2020, and 200,000 a few months later, in September.
The United States has a higher infection rate than many other wealthy countries, and the pathogen has continued to spread through a population plagued by inequality, political divisions, a sometimes overwhelmed public health system and a inconsistent array of policies and responses.
In January 2021, the country’s daily death toll peaked, with more than 3,300 deaths recorded each day in the United States. And then came new waves: Delta in the summer of 2021 and Omicron in late fall and winter. Omicron caused milder disease for some, but not all; even so, it spread so quickly and so widely that deaths in the United States rose again and peaked in the first week of February, when more than 2,500 Americans a day were dying.
Now, in mid-May, Americans are still dying — more than 300 a day on average Wednesday. Vaccines are readily available for almost everyone except young children, but despite this, around 34% of people across the country have not been vaccinated against the virus and around 70% have not received any boosters, despite the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing serious diseases. And the dead.
“It’s now reaching a point with Covid, where some very obvious scientific truths based on clear, very visible data are being dismissed by people,” Dr. Fauci said on WGBH. “When it gets in the way of the proper and proper response to a deadly outbreak, it becomes even more tragic.”
On Tuesday, the average of new confirmed coronavirus cases again topped 100,000 a day as subvariants of Omicron spread across the country. And those numbers are considered underestimates, especially since home test results often go unreported. Hospitalizations are on the rise, mainly on the East Coast; on Wednesday, on average, just over 22,800 Americans are hospitalized with the coronavirus on any given day, 27% more than two weeks ago.
Although each of the million victims has a unique story, they leave behind a shared feeling among loved ones, who say the lives of the dead have been put aside in a country eager to move on with its post-pandemic life. As it stands, there is no national memorial for the deceased, no shared remembrance, no common place to congregate or receive sympathy from a nation. There is only one number, a horrifying number.
Amy Harmon, Danielle Ivory, Albert Sun, Lauren Leatherby, Sarah Almukhtar and Jeremy White contributed report.