The coronavirus has infected nearly 1.4 million Americans, and claimed the lives of 83,947 since outbreaks spread across the nation earlier this year.
The total lives claimed by COVID-19 in the U.S. is already higher than the 67,830 troops who died in every war since the start of the Vietnam conflict in 1964. And the 27,448 deaths in New York are closing in on the 36,574 U.S. deaths in the Korean War.
Of course pandemic deaths and soldiers killed in wars are two very different types of loss. But it does help to understand the sheer magnitude of the virus and its devastating effect on U.S. lives.
While the 83,947 COVID-19 deaths are still far below the estimated 675,000 deaths attributed to the Spanish flu, it’s nearing the 100,000 U.S. deaths from the 1968 pandemic.
And the virus is still well below the leading causes of death in the country. Heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death in the U.S. last year, with 647,457 and 599,109 deaths respectively. Those two will likely still be the top two killers again this year. But COVID-19 is moving up quickly—and would likely be higher without the shutdowns and social distancing. And already more U.S. deaths are attributed to COVID-19 in 2020 than diabetes (83,564) last year.
Despite stay-at-home orders, coronavirus deaths are projected to continue to rise. A biostatistician at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has merged various COVID-19 forecasts, and projects 110,000 deaths by June 6. That would be just shy of the 116,516 U.S. deaths in World War I.
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