More than 300,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.
It is the latest sign of a generational tragedy — one still unfolding in every corner of the country — that leaves in its wake an expanse of grief that cannot be captured in a string of statistics.
The numbers do not reflect that these were people. Everyone lost was a father or a mother, they had kids, they had family, they left people behind.
There is no analogue in recent U.S history to the scale of death brought on by the coronavirus, which now runs unchecked in countless towns, cities and states.
We’re seeing some of the most deadly days in American history.
During the past two weeks, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in the U.S., outpacing even heart disease and cancer.
Yet the most deadly days of the pandemic may be to come, epidemiologists predict.
Some of those deaths could still be averted. If everyone simply began wearing face masks, more than 50,000 lives could be saved, IHME’s model shows. And physical distancing could make a difference too.
No other country has come close to the calamitous death toll in the U.S. And the disease has amplified entrenched inequalities. Blacks and Hispanics/Latinos are nearly three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than whites.
There’s evidence that socioeconomic factors, not underlying health problems, explain the disproportionate share of deaths. The disease, reveals the chronic neglect of Black and brown communities in this country.
Though the numbers are numbing, for bereaved families and for front-line workers who care for people in their dying moments, every life is precious.