Just over a year later, it has now surpassed the grim milestone of 500,000 coronavirus casualties, a horrific marker in the country’s long and tiring battle against the virus.
The half-million milestone, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, comes as states redouble efforts to get the coronavirus vaccine into arms after last week’s winter weather closed clinics, slowed vaccine deliveries and forced tens of thousands of people to miss their shots.
Here are a few numbers to understand the magnitude of the tragedy:
Matching toll of three wars
The staggering number all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.
According to data from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, approximately 405,000 Americans died in the Second World War while 36,000 lost their lives in the Korean War.
The Vietnam War resulted in another 58,000 deaths with the collective toll of all three conflicts coming in at around half a million.
As of February 23, 2021, the Johns Hopkins University lists 500,310 Americans as having died from Covid-19.
If a minute of silence was held for every death during the pandemic, it would take nearly a year – 347 days – to honor all the people the US has lost.
The number of deaths reported by America is in fact akin to a 9/11 every day for nearly six months.
Most deaths in winter
Data further shows that the US recorded almost half its deaths during the winters, with 232,099 people losing the battle to Covid-19.
The least number of deaths took place during the summer season, with around 79,000 succumbing to the virus.
This corroborates the long-held theory that the virus is deadlier during the winters and less harmful in the summer season.
From 1 to 5,00,000
US deaths from Covid-19 came faster as the pandemic wore on.
The country’s first known Covid-19 death occurred in Santa Clara County, California, on February 6, 2020, and by the end of May, 100,000 people had died.
It took four months for the nation to log another 100,000 deaths; the next, about three months; the next, just five weeks.
The virus has reached every corner of America, devastating dense cities and rural counties alike through surges that barreled through one region and then another.
One in 670 Americans died of Covid
The United States accounts for about 20% of the world’s known Covid deaths, but makes up just 4.25% of the global population.
About 1 in 670 Americans has died of Covid-19, which has become a leading cause of death in this country, along with heart disease and cancer, and has driven down life expectancy more sharply than in decades.
The losses, monumental for the country, have been searingly personal for the relatives and friends of the 500,000.
New Jersey, New York reported most deaths
When deaths are measured per 100,000 of the population, the US has recorded 152, a figure that is lower than some other countries such as the UK and Italy with 182 and 158, respectively.
When it comes to the worst-affected states, New Jersey and New York have suffered the highest number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants with 258 and 239, respectively, according to a New York Times analysis.
Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Arizona, Connecticut, South Dakota and Louisiana have also suffered at least 200 deaths per 100,000 of their inhabitants.