On Tuesday, the United States passed the latest grim milestone of the pandemic. According to figures from the CDC, there have now been more deaths related to Covid in 2021 than there were in 2020. That may be a difficult notion for many Americans to get their heads around given just how difficult last year was for many.
At the end of 2020, 362,208 American lives had been lost to Covid-19. Yesterday, the pandemic-total toll was 773,779. That means so far in 2021 America has seen 411,571 lives lost to the virus. And there are still five-plus weeks left in the year. With daily deaths averaging about 1,000, another 40,000 souls could be lost before January 1, 2022.
There was a time early this summer when it seemed like the bad days of the pandemic were behind us. Daily new cases in the U.S. had fallen to 8,654 by June 21, down from a winter high close to 300,000 per day. Vaccine uptake was providing hope that the virus that causes Covid-19 might become a manageable phenomenon. In his April address to Congress, President Biden indicated that the nation was turning a corner in its fight with Covid.
Then came the summer surge that saw cases rise very near 200,000 a day, with a high over over 2,000 daily deaths. Cases have fallen once again to a 7-day moving average of about 100,000. That’s far better than the 7-day average of nearly 175,000 on the same day last year.
But with cases among children up 32% over the past two weeks, according to the New York Times, and hospitalizations nearing capacity or totally overwhelmed in areas like Buffalo, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota and rural California, there are fears of another winter surge to end the year.