covid: Covid takes 1 million lives in the US, leaving a trail of loss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States has now recorded more than 1 million deaths from Covid-19, according to a Reuters tally, passing a previously unthinkable milestone about two years after the first cases changed everyday life and transformed quickly.
The 1 million mark is a stark reminder of the staggering pain and loss caused by the pandemic, even as the threat posed by the virus wanes in many people’s minds. It represents about one death for every 327 Americans, or more than the entire population of San Francisco or Seattle.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, the virus had killed 36 in the United States. In the months that followed, the deadly virus spread like wildfire, finding fertile ground in densely populated urban areas like New York City and reaching every corner of the country. In June, the US death toll surpassed the country’s World War I total military deaths and would exceed the US military losses from World War II in January 2021, when more than 405,000 deaths were recorded.
The disease has left few places on Earth untouched, with 6.7 million confirmed deaths worldwide. The actual number, including those who died from Covid-19 and those who died as an indirect result of the outbreak, was likely closer to 15 million, the WHO said.
Some of the images associated with death from Covid are forever etched in the collective mind of Americans: refrigerated trucks parked outside hospitals overflowing with the dead; patients intubated in isolated intensive care units; exhausted doctors and nurses who have fought every wave of the virus.
Millions of Americans rolled up their sleeves eagerly to receive Covid vaccines after distribution began in late 2020. By early 2021, the virus had claimed a staggering 500,000 lives.
At one point in January of that year, more people died from Covid-19 every day, on average, than were killed in the 9/11, 2001 attacks.
Covid-19 has attacked the elderly and people with compromised health, but it has also not spared healthy young people, killing more than 1,000 children. Researchers estimate that 213,000 American children have lost at least one parent or primary caregiver during the pandemic, taking an immeasurable emotional toll.
Although nestled in large cities, the coronavirus has also devastated rural communities with limited access to medical care.
The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on native communities and communities of color. It was more difficult where people lived in congregated environments, such as prisons, and decimated entire families. It exposed deep-seated inequalities in American society and unleashed a wave of change that affects most aspects of life in the United States.
With the threat of Covid-19 waning after the Omicron wave last winter, many Americans ditched masks and returned to offices in recent weeks. Restaurants and bars are once again full of customers, and public attention has shifted to inflation and economic concerns.
But researchers are already working on yet another booster shot as the virus continues to mutate.
“It’s by no means over,” said America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, at a recent event. “We are still facing a global pandemic.”
following the pandemic
Tracking the Covid-19 pandemic is not an exact science. Reuters and the other organizations that do the math are approaching 1 million deaths in the US at different times. The variation is due to the way each organization accounts for Covid deaths. For example, Reuters includes confirmed and probable deaths where such data is available.
The precise toll of the pandemic may never really be known. Some people who died while infected were never tested and do not appear in the data. Others, despite having Covid-19, may have died from another reason, such as cancer, but they were still accounted for.
The CDC estimates that 1.1 million excess deaths have occurred since February 1, 2020, mostly from Covid. Excess mortality is the increase in the total number of deaths, from any cause, in relation to previous years.

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