There have been more than a million COVID-19 related deaths in the US since the pandemic began. The grim news was announced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s a harsh reminder that the fight against the deadly virus is far from over. This was underscored when the Biden administration recently stated that the country will continue to be in a state of COVID-19 public health emergency even beyond July 15.
During February 2020 and September 2021, the CDC estimates that the rate of Covid-19 deaths in the US was around 32% more than previously reported.
What’s caused the high number of Covid-19 related deaths?
The cause of the high number of fatalities can be attributed to several reasons, including:
- underlying health conditions
- people disregarding safety precautions
- the rise of different COVID-19 variants.
But, according to health professionals, one of the biggest factors has been the hesitancy to get vaccinated.
In mid-June 2021, the United States had crossed the 600,000 death toll. Of the fatalities, more than 300,000 reportedly could’ve been prevented.
“I think it’s reasonable to say that likely more than 300,000 deaths were preventable,” said David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in an interview with USA Today. “Three hundred thousand people is the size of a midsize city. And to think we could have prevented that number of people from dying just by doing a better job of getting a very safe and highly effective vaccine into people is tragic.”
Aside from enforced isolation, illness, and death, the pandemic has resulted in disruptions in education, job loss, isolation from friends and family, financial hardship, and an unprecedented mental health crisis.
Have age and demographics played a factor in the number of COVID-19 related deaths?
COVID-19 is more lethal in the older population, according to the CDC. When older persons (people aged 50 and above) with COVID-19 become severely unwell, they’ll need more intensive care and support to alleviate the symptoms.
While racial and ethnic disparities have narrowed throughout the pandemic, the CDC reports that COVID-19-related hospitalization and death are higher among Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Alaska Native people in the US than among Non-Hispanic white people. Even when other demographic and socioeconomic criteria are considered, these differences persist.
“We must not grow numb to such sorrow”
Last week, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation commemorating a million fatalities and ordering the American flag to be flown at half-staff, stating that the country “must not grow numb to such sorrow.”
In a statement, the President added, “To heal, we must remember… We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.”
And it all comes as Covid-19 cases are on the rise again across the country, with recorded infections in the US more than doubling in the last month. After rising case counts and hospitalizations reaching levels that could put a significant strain on the healthcare system, New York City health officials issued a “high Covid alert.”
This meant advising its citizens to wear high-quality masks in all public indoor settings and crowded outdoor spaces regardless of vaccination status.
How many COVID-19 related deaths have there been worldwide?
As of this writing, data showed that more than 524 million cases of the virus had been detected worldwide since the start of the pandemic. Moreover, of the current number of cases detected around the world, there have been more than 6.2 million Covid-19 related deaths.
Vaccinations save millions of lives worldwide
Vaccines for the virus have saved millions of lives. The risk of death from Covid-19 is five times higher for unvaccinated individuals than those who got vaccinated. Moreover, proof of the crucial role of booster shots continues to gain ground.
COVID-19 vaccine boosters, according to the CDC, can improve or restore protection that has diminished over time following your first series vaccination. The chart below shows the overall vaccination percentage of inhabitants of all ages in New York City.
Source: NYC Health
* People who have been fully vaccinated but have gotten a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are considered additional doses.
** This chart contains data for the first booster doses as well as further doses for immunocompromised persons. At this moment, data for the second booster has yet to be published.
COVID-19 Related Deaths Are Preventable
Although the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the US has decreased since the Omicron surge in January and February, hundreds of people continue to die from the virus every day.
While the virus can be lethal, health experts insist that individuals can mitigate its impact by taking simple precautions. These include hand washing, wearing face masks, and getting tested whenever symptoms arise.
The more people who get vaccinated, the more we can do to stop the spread of the virus. While a cure for Covid-19 has yet to be developed, following the advice of health officials can and will save lives.
We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and others. COVID-19 related deaths can be consigned to history if we present a united front.
To keep you, your loved ones and your community safe, you must continue practicing safety precautions even if you’ve been fully vaccinated.
If you start to experience any COVID-related symptoms, ensure that you get tested immediately. You can request a free COVID-19 testing kit here.