Fifteen 9/11s

Another grim milestone.

As Steven Taylor noted earlier this afternoon, the United States is almost certainly under-counting the death toll from COVID-19. And there’s no question that we’re undercounting the number of infected people, given that we’re so far behind in testing.

But, even with our imperfect numbers, the disease has already killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks fifteen times over.

We matched the 9/11 attack toll on March 31—precisely three weeks ago today. A week later, we were at four 9/11s. A mere five days ago, we were at eleven—the figures coming in so fast that I missed going past ten earlier the same day.

What the death toll would look like had we gone the “herd immunity” route, I haven’t the foggiest but it would certainly be many times more than it has been.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    I sincerely hope we are undercounting cases as well as death, as it appears we are. If not, the death rate on this thing is a lot higher than we thought.

    I mean 45K/(45K+82K) is about 1/3 . Those are all the “resolved” cases we know about, right? Let’s hope there’s a bunch more out there that didn’t result in death.

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  2. Teve says:

    And after three consecutive days below 2000 deaths, we’re at 2583 today.

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  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    The US is #1 in total cases. #1 in total deaths. #1 in new deaths. #10 in deaths per capita. #28 in tests given per million.*

    Canada, meanwhile, has about a third of our death rate. Germany is just slightly worse than Canada and far better than the US.

    South Korea, which learned of the virus on the same day we did, and is rather closer to Wuhan, and is far more dependent on mass transit, has a deaths per capita rate 3.5% of ours. That’s right, our deaths per capita are 28 times higher.

    On the other hand the major European countries have far higher death rates than we do. The worst off, Belgium, has a death rate not quite four times ours. On the other, other hand, Europe got hit harder sooner, so we may yet catch up to them.

    MAGA!

    *Counting real countries, sorry Andorra and Saint Martin. And not counting China because no one believes their bullshit.

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  4. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I sincerely hope we are undercounting cases as well as death, as it appears we are. If not, the death rate on this thing is a lot higher than we thought.

    Yes, “confirmed cases” is a massive undercount of actual infections. In places where random sampling of the population has been done, it turned out that there were large numbers of asymptomatic carriers (who turn out to shed virus at about the same rate as people with visible symptoms).

    This Johns Hopkins page (recently updated) says “Viral shedding by asymptomatic people may represent 25–50% of total infections. “

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ah James, much ado about nothing. These people don’t matter, not one of them had anywhere near as much as a million bucks in the bank. Who cares?

  6. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds: When they measure the influenza death rate, where everyone agrees on the whats and hows, the developed countries (including S. Korea) all have about the same order of magnitude. I suspect most of the reported variations for Covid-19 are measurement differences, not actual mortality differences.

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  7. Jen says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yes, “confirmed cases” is a massive undercount of actual infections. In places where random sampling of the population has been done, it turned out that there were large numbers of asymptomatic carriers (who turn out to shed virus at about the same rate as people with visible symptoms).

    Asymptomatic carriers is one type of undercounting, the other is “yes, you probably have it, but stay home until you get better” is the other. I have a number of friends who fall into that category. They got very sick, but not so sick they needed hospitalization, and were never tested. So, no test–not a “confirmed case.” But symptoms and timing were both bang-on for covid-19, and their doctors all said yep, you had it.

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  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Michael Cain:
    There are certainly issues with the data. But I think with those kinds of multipliers there’s more than smoke here.

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    45,000 people.
    Two basketball arenas.
    Olympia, Washington.
    Altoona, PA
    Middletown, CT
    45,000 people gone. It didn’t have to be like this. Turns out hiring a game show host to run the country was stupid idea.

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