US Surpasses 900,000 COVID Deaths

Yet another grim milestone.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 22: Demonstrators participate in a vehicle caravan with a sign reading ‘Trust in God not vaccines’ outside City Hall, calling on California officials to re-open the economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic, on April 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. A protest movement has sprung up in states across the country calling for an end to shelter-at-home orders. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

NYT (“U.S. Covid Death Toll Surpasses 900,000 as Omicron’s Spread Slows“):

More than 2,600 Americans are dying from Covid-19 each day, an alarming rate that has climbed by 30 percent in the past two weeks. Across the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has now claimed more than 900,000 lives.

Yet another, simultaneous reality of the pandemic offers reason for hope. The number of new coronavirus infections is plummeting, falling by more than half since mid-January. Hospitalizations are also declining, a relief to stressed health care workers who have been treating desperately ill coronavirus patients for nearly two years.

All that has created a disorienting moment in the pandemic: Though deaths are still mounting, the threat from the virus is moving, for now, farther into the background of daily life for many Americans.

Indeed, the Worldometer database, which I’ve used since the earliest days of the pandemic, has the US figure at 924,530, meaning we passed the threshold more than a week ago.

While I continue reading and even posting quite a bit about the pandemic, my reaction to these milestones has increasingly shifted from horror to resignation. The most vulnerable of us have been able to get vaccinated against the virus for more than a year now. And yet the trendline gives no hint that this is the case:

Granting that there are those who can’t get vaccinated for whatever reason, or whose health is simply so fragile that vaccination is insufficient protection, almost all of these deaths were easily avoidable. It’s essentially suicide at this point.

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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. JKB says:

    DELETED FOR STUPIDITY

    Go peddle your unscientific COVID talking points elsewhere. I hear Joe Rogan is looking for guests. It’s not welcome here. Consider this your last warning. – jhj

    26
  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    It goes without saying that you’re full of sh*t, but I have a spare minute, so I’ll do it anyway.

    I’ll just point out one simple stat: the un-vaxxed are 97 times more likely to die of Covid than the vaxxed. Now, here at OTB we all live in reality, but I would encourage you to spread your b.s. on Republican sites. I mean, if someone has to die of Covid, we want it to be Republicans, right? Cuz MAGA?

    12
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: To repeat myself (tho I don’t know why, you pretended not to see it the first time and no doubt will do the same today):

    Scott Hadland, MD
    @DrScottHadland

    “Vaccines don’t work.” New data say yes, they do:

    Weekly avg deaths per 100,000

    Unvaccinated: 7.8
    Vaccinated: 0.6
    With Booster: 0.1

    source: CDC

    6
  4. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: NYT shows 3,958 reported dead yesterday. The rolling average is about 2,600 per day. The linked article didn’t say anything about per million. If you want to look at per capita, Worldometer shows U. S. deaths per million at 2,767. Canada, for contrast, shows 903. Why are we three times more likely to die than Canadians? FOX and GOPs.

    I have a theory that conservatives tend to be innumerate. Thank you for the data point. I should know better than to respond to this stuff, but jeez. And please, somebody, tell me you upvoted Jake by accident.

    7
  5. Kathy says:

    Maybe instead of vaccine mandates, we should forbid Republicans from getting vaccinated. then they may rush to get black market shots.

    5
  6. Scott O says:

    @gVOR08: I upvoted the deletion, not the original nonsense.

    11
  7. Moosebreath says:

    @Scott O:

    “I upvoted the deletion, not the original nonsense.”

    To put it in terms JKB would understand, ditto.

    9
  8. CSK says:

    All the data in the world won’t budge anyone who’s convinced that the vax/boosters are intended to kill people.

    5
  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    I’ll betcha dollar @JKB has gotten the jabs, just like the professional hypocrites at Fox.

    6
  10. becca says:

    @gVOR08: I also upvoted the deletion. Just Keep Bullshitting needs a personality transplant.

    3
  11. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: A couple of months ago, I spent a Saturday afternoon trying to figure out how many lives were saved due to vaccination and came up with a very conservative multiplier of 1.4 lives saved to every one life lost. It could be quite a bit more. One of the tragedies of the news coverage of this whole thing is that we constantly see the reports that, say, the daily average death rate is 2600 but don’t anything about how that number would be 6240 without the vaccines. That is a huge win. And yes, 2600 still died, but the vast majority of those 2600 who died are the equivalent of people who won’t wear seat belts, or practice that religion where you get deliberately bit by venomous snakes. For the people who are able to properly process medical advice and act on it, COVID is substantially less deadly than regular pneumonia.

    2
  12. Andy says:

    Counting Covid deaths is tricky and misses deaths that are covid-related, but not directly caused by Covid. That’s why I’ve always preferred looking at “excess deaths” analysis which, while not perfect, is more useful IMO from a big-picture perspective. And on that score, we are already over a million extra deaths in the US since Feb. 2020.

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

    4
  13. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    JKB really belongs at Lucianne.com, where the commenters boast about never getting “the clot shot.”

    2
  14. James Joyner says:

    @Andy:

    I’ve always preferred looking at “excess deaths” analysis which, while not perfect, is more useful IMO from a big-picture perspective. And on that score, we are already over a million extra deaths in the US since Feb. 2020.

    Agreed, although that’s an imperfect metric as well. For one thing, there are bound to be a whole lot fewer driving fatalities as way more people telework as a result of the pandemic.

    5
  15. Argon says:

    “It’s essentially suicide at this point.”

    It’s considered an ‘in the line of duty death’, for police who refuse vaccinations. Unless they are fired first

    2
  16. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    Traffic fatalities significantly increased during covid:

    https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813240

    Looking at the state numbers in that document there are some interesting incongruities.

    2
  17. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: That’s really bizarre. Apparently, even though vehicle miles were down considerably (some 13%) in 2020, fatalities were up due to “drivers taking more risks on less-congested roads by speeding, failing to wear seat belts, or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.” Sigh.

    3
  18. Jax says:

    @James Joyner: It’s almost like we’re determined to off ourselves. Or a certain segment of society is, anyways.

    2
  19. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: One would reasonably expect traffic deaths to go down, but apparently they’ve gone up. The usual explanation seems to be that with reduced congestion people are driving faster and more recklessly. This makes little sense to me. Per the link it’s also somehow producing lower seat belt usage and more drinking. But mostly, you can probably say congestion dropped to what it was X years ago, at which point fatalities were lower.

    If I had the money, I’d pay a researcher to investigate whether MAGA types, who would be more prone to ignore precautions and be on the road, are also more accident prone. Or maybe essential workers, i.e. the underpaid, who had to be out, are more accident prone. Although in either case, there wouldn’t be more of them on the road.

    As with homicides rising sharply while violent crime overall isn’t, there’s weird stuff going on. And we’re talking a few thousand deaths, roundoff on the COVID numbers, not an explanation of excess deaths. Which appears to be more a matter of families and underfunded, ill trained coroners underreporting COVID deaths in areas where there seems to be a stigma attached.

    ETA – I see Andy and James beat me too it. Must type faster. But then I’d post gibberish. OK, more gibberish.

    2
  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    One would reasonably expect traffic deaths to go down, but apparently they’ve gone up.

    Another explanation: a bunch of people who haven’t driven in two years are suddenly getting back on the road and have forgotten how to drive. One thing I’ve noticed recently is a big increase in people driving significantly below the speed limit on uncongested highways (e.g. 40-45 on a road where most people are going 60-65).

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: I find the excess deaths in places with high vaccination and low covid deaths fascinating. Like Vermont. It’s unlikely that Vermont is under-reporting covid deaths for political reasons, so it would be a good spot to start looking into how the pandemic/pandemic-response is killing people other than disease.

    1
  22. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: As I understand it, driving fatalities went way down in the lockdown but then actually increased as people started driving like maniacs on the more open roads. We have what is essentially a 1.5 mile elevated on-ramp near our house with a 1 mile straight stretch and no chance of cops spotting you. For months you could hear the scream of high powered engines late into the night. These bozos would then merge onto I95 in the middle of the city weaving in and out at insane speeds. After a few months the police announced that they were going to increase ticketing dramatically.

  23. Gustopher says:

    As we begin the march to 1 million dead from covid, and the inevitable right wing crowing over the Biden Administration’s failures on covid, I really hope the Biden folks have PR flaks working overtime.

    Some variation of “We’re doing great among those who got vaccinated, but if you want to get sick and die, we can’t help you. You bring this on yourselves.”

    2
  24. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I spent a Saturday afternoon trying to figure out how many lives were saved due to vaccination and came up with a very conservative multiplier of 1.4 lives saved to every one life lost.

    Spend a little time working on phrasing, as it sounds like you’re saying the vaccines are killing people at a rate comparable to covid, when that is not your intent.

    Or I have reading comprehension issues. Or both.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    One thing that clouds some of this picture is the amount of elderly in any given state. The elderly are vax Ed at very high rates in the US but despite that they are so much more likely to die when they get it than, say, a forty year old, that the median age has an effect. As an example, 21% of Vermonts population is 65 and older, while that group only makes up 13% of Texas’s population. 99.9% of the over 65 population of Vermont have received at least 2 shots, 93% of Texas. But that 7% difference represents a lot of deaths.

    1
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Got it. How about: if there had been no vaccine, the death rate would have been 2.4 times higher.

  27. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher:

    I really hope the Biden folks have PR flaks working overtime. Some variation of “We’re doing great among those who got vaccinated, but if you want to get sick and die, we can’t help you. You bring this on yourselves.”

    That’s been their message for months! At least, that’s what I take from the “epidemic of the unvaccinated” slogan.

    3
  28. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: There’s a world of difference between “epidemic of the unvaccinated” and “you bring this on yourselves, dumbass.”

    “Epidemic of the unvaccinated” doesn’t get through. Too many big words, perhaps. Public health and politics are largely about messaging — both choosing the right message and getting it out there — and it’s clear that this administration isn’t doing well on that front.

    Is “you bring it on yourselves, dumbasses” the right approach? Maybe not. Probably not. But they need to do something different from what they are doing now.

    If Republicans are going to be perpetuating a public health crisis just to blame the Democrats for that health crisis continuing, it’s not just a matter of the best public health messaging practices — polio didn’t have a political party on its side.

    (If the phrase “witch doctors hawking horse medicine” was used, I would be pleased, but I might be the only one)

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I prefer:

    After mask and social distancing were prescribed, Jonas said, “God will protect me.”
    When the J&J vax came down Jonas said, “God will protect me.”
    Then the Pfizer vax came and Jonas said, “God will protect me.”
    Then the Moderna vax came and Jonas said, “God will protect me.”

    Then Jonas died. When he got to the pearly gates he looked at St. Peter and said, “WTF??? You guys were supposed to protect me!!!”
    St. Peter replied, “Whadya want? We told you to mask up and keep yer f’n distance, right?
    “Then we sent you the J&J vax, and you refused it.
    “Then we sent you the Pfizer vax, and you refused it.
    “Then we sent you the Moderna vax, and you refused it.

    “WTF do you want?”

    1
  30. Lynn says:

    @James Joyner: For one thing, there are bound to be a whole lot fewer driving fatalities as way more people telework as a result of the pandemic.

    Not so – see https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-fatality-data-show-increased-traffic-fatalities-during-pandemic