A grim milestone in the pandemic: More than half a million dead of COVID-19 in US
The U.S. has surpassed 500,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, even as case numbers trend downward and vaccination efforts proceed.
The U.S. reached the half-million death milestone on Monday, the highest of any country, a little more than a year after the first American is believed to have died from the virus in Santa Clara County, Calif.
For comparison sake: that’s essentially the entire population of Atlanta, dead, in about 12 months.
The true toll of the coronavirus pandemic, however, is likely far higher, as federal figures maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show excess mortality well above what might be otherwise assumed for a typical year.
“It’s something that is stunning when you look at the numbers, almost unbelievable, but it’s true,” Anthony Fauci said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” the day before the U.S. officially crossed the 500,000 threshold. “This is a devastating pandemic, and it’s historic. People will be talking about this decades and decades and decades from now.”
President Biden offered sympathy: “500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. It’s an unfathomable number, but each one represents a family that will never again be whole. To those who have lost loved ones: I know no words can numb the pain, but I hope you find some solace in knowing the nation grieves with you.”
There is some good news in the trends, though: Some data is more hopeful, including cases dropping over 40 percent in the past two weeks and more than 70 percent since January, according to The New York Times. Daily positive tests are at their lowest rate since late October. Death rates are also beginning to slow.