Written by Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

The United States has officially exceeded the 1 million reported deaths from COVID-19, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

This painful milestone for the new disease, which first appeared in China in late 2019, claimed its first American life in early 2020 and quickly became the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The death toll is likely to be much higher both in the United States and around the world, according to experts from the CRC. Worldwide, about 6.3 million people have died from COVID-19, although, according to a recent World Health Organization review, the total could be nearly three times higher, including 110,000 more than currently recorded.

“The United States has once reached an unimaginable gloomy milestone of 1 million deaths from COVID-19,” said William Moss, lead vaccine director at CRC and executive director of the John Hopkins International Center for Vaccine Access. “Equally tragic, and once unimaginable, are recent WHO estimates that the pandemic led to nearly 15 million excess deaths worldwide in 2020 and 2021.”

Most experts say a million people in the U.S. died from the disease a few weeks or months ago. President Joe Biden said what he called a “tragic milestone” on Thursday last week, ordering flags and urging citizens to “stay vigilant” against a pandemic that has infected nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population.

“While the 1 million deaths from COVID-19 are staggering, we know that the United States actually reached this tragic milestone some time ago,” said Crystal Watson, head of the CRC for Health and a senior Hopkins Center for Health scientist. Security. “Hundreds of thousands more people have died from COVID-19 in the United States than officially estimated,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Watson said “such a broad impact on health death cannot be covered by data alone.

“People who die from COVID-19 leave behind family and friends, children without parents and grandparents who care for them, spouses and partners, and in some cases parents who have to go without children,” – she added. “The shock of so many deaths along with the large number of people now living with long-term symptoms of COVID-19 means that this pandemic will unfortunately be felt by individuals and reflected in our public health datafor a long time. “

Beth Blauer, head of data at CRC and deputy vice-rector for public sector innovation, said the tragedy was exacerbated by the realization that much more had died.

“But our reporting and tracking systems are so flawed that local, state and federal agencies “Worse, the nation has essentially stopped tracking test results in any way that makes sense to provide society and politicians with the best data for making smart decisions about it.” how to continue daily life ”.

She warned that the “pandemic is not over” regardless of the abolition of masks and other precautions and reduced data collection.

“People continue to die every day from COVID-19, some unnecessarily,” Blauer said. “Infections continue to spread, but where and how widely it is becoming a deeper mystery every day, the government cannot implement a national strategy to collect all available testing data, including test results at home.”

According to the CRC, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States has risen nearly 36%, from about 350,000 in 2020 to nearly 475,000 last year. Growth has slowed this year by 23%, from 222,000 deaths recorded in the first four months of 2021 to 170,000 deaths compared to the same period in 2022.

But the omicron variant, first discovered in the United States in late 2021, has led to a recent surge in deaths over the past six months – from November 2021 to April – to nearly 250,000. % more than the previous six-month period from May 1 to October 31, 2021.

CDC data show that the emergence of COVID-19 as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer in 2020 and 2021 has also contributed to reduced life expectancy in both years.

Brian Garibaldi, clinical head of the CRC and medical director of the Biocontrol Division of John Hopkins, said the impact of the deaths on hospitals and medical staff had changed during the pandemic.

“In the spring of 2020, almost half of the deaths we saw at the hospital were in nursing homes who had serious comorbidities,” Garibaldi said. “By the time the delta option appeared, most of the admissions and deaths to the intensive care unit occurred in unvaccinated individuals.”

Patients with COVID-19 faced a “significant risk of death” when they needed mechanical ventilation due to respiratory disease, he said.

“More recently, we have seen severe cases among people with immune system problems who are unable to respond effectively to vaccines,” Garibaldi added. “Vaccines and boosters have dramatically reduced the risk of serious illness and have really changed the game by reducing the number of patients who need care at the intensive care unit level.”

Moss said many deaths in the United States and around the world could have been avoided if more people had been vaccinated. According to the CRC, only two-thirds of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated. And 40% of the world’s population – about 3 billion people – remain unvaccinated.

Although vaccines could not prevent the deaths of the country’s most vulnerable citizens – the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, a significant number of lives would have been saved, “if we had achieved higher vaccination rates faster,” Moss said.

“A a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation It is estimated that 60% of all adult deaths from COVID-19 in the United States from June 2021 could be prevented by primary vaccination alone, approximately 234,000 deaths, “Moss said.” We must continue to strive for higher vaccinations. “COVID-19 vaccine coverage both here in the United States and around the world to prevent an even greater catastrophe. We can’t afford to be numb in the face of these numbers.”

The deadliest month for a pandemic in the United States was January 2021, when nearly 98,000 people died – about 3,200 daily, according to a Pond analysis. The CRC recorded just under 13,000 deaths in April 2022, about 425 a day.

Not surprisingly, the country’s three largest states – California, Texas and Florida – recorded the highest number of deaths, according to the CRC. Per capita Mississippi, Arizona and Oklahoma had the highest deaths per 100,000 population, while Hawaii, Vermont and Puerto Rico reported the lowest per capita deaths.

COVID-19 continues to haunt the US with a new surge, a new option

Citation: US officially exceeds 1 million deaths from COVID-19 (2022, May 18), received on May 18, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-05-surpasses-million-covid-deaths.html

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