America’s failures have led to a new daily record in Covid-19 deaths

“On December 2, a staggering 2,885 Americans were reported to have died of Covid-19, according to the New York Times. It was the highest single-day toll of the year.

It was nearly the same number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks (2,977). And it was far more than the estimated 1,800 Americans who died over a matter of days when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. During World War II, from the Pearl Harbor attacks in December 1941 to Japan’s surrender, about 300 US soldiers died every day on average (and about 407,000 were dead in total by August 1945).

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has more in common with a slow-motion tragedy, like a war, than an acute event like 9/11. More than 2,600 deaths were reported on December 1, the day before the US set its new record for daily deaths; the previous high had been 2,752 on April 15. With the number of daily new cases and hospitalizations still rising across the country, public health experts expect new terrible death records will be set over the coming winter.”

“According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the official number of total deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the US is 274,121. But total excess deaths — the number of deaths above what would be expected in a normal year — has reached 345,000, according to the Times. Most, though not all, of those deaths are likely uncounted Covid-19 fatalities.” 

“There is still time to soften the blow, with states and cities implementing more social distancing restrictions and requiring better mask adherence. But barring a sudden change in public behavior and public policy, America’s outbreak is not going to get better anytime soon.

At this point, we appear to be waiting for the vaccine to be widely distributed to bring the virus under control — something that may not happen for another six months or longer. Prioritizing the most vulnerable populations for vaccination should help reduce the death toll, but there is no avoiding the fact that tens of thousands of Americans are likely to die over the next few months.”

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