The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States reached 1 million on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.
The tragic figure is equivalent to an attack of the magnitude of those of September 11 every day for 336 days. It is roughly equivalent to the sum of all the deaths suffered by the country in the Civil War and World War II, or the complete extermination of the populations of Boston and Pittsburgh.
“It’s hard to imagine a million people missing from Earth,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, director of a center for pandemic studies at the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island.
“This is something that continues to develop, and we are allowing it to continue to develop,” he added.
Among the mourners there are those who swear that they can never return to normality. They listen to messages left by loved ones on their phone recorders, watch their videos. When someone tells them that he is fed up with the pandemic, they look at them with resentment and silence.
“Normal. How I hate that word. Those of us who lost someone will never go back to normal,” says Julie Wallace, a 55-year-old resident of Elyria, Ohio, who lost her husband to COVID-19 in 2020.
Three out of four deaths were people aged 65 or older. More men than women died. White people made up the majority of deaths overall. But blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans have died of COVID-19 at a rate that is almost double that of whites.
Most of the deaths occurred in urban areas, but rural places — where opposition to masks and vaccines is often high — sometimes paid a heavy price.
The number of deaths in less than two and a half years of the outbreak is based on death certificate data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. But the real number of lives lost to COVID-19, either directly or indirectly, is believed to be much higher, as a result of disruptions to the health care system in the world’s richest country.