Pandemic’s Toll Is Now 1 in 500 Americans


In late December, the US reached the grim milestone of 1,000 COVID deaths per million people, meaning the pandemic had killed one in every thousand Americans. The country reached the next milestone Tuesday, with COVID having claimed one in 500 since the first reported infection early last year, CNN reports. The pandemic has killed almost 664,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University—a higher reported total than any other nation though some, including Peru, Brazil, and Hungary, have higher death rates.

With the more infectious delta variant now the dominant strain, the US is now averaging more than 150,000 new reported infections each day and around 1,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. “We’re kind of where we predicted we would be with completely uncontrolled spread of infection,” Jeffrey D. Klausner, clinical professor of medicine, population and public health sciences at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, tells the Washington Post.

The figure of one in 500 does not reflect the huge differences in the COVID death toll between age groups, races, and regions, the Post reports. Among people over 85, who account for around a quarter of COVID deaths, the virus has killed one in 35. In younger age groups, the difference between races is stark: COVID has killed one in every 240 Native Americans between the ages of 40 and 64, compared to one in 480 Blacks and one in 1,300 whites in the same age group. In Mississippi and New Jersey, the pandemic has killed one in every 330 residents, while in Vermont, which has the nation’s highest vaccination rate, the rate is one in 2,100. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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