The death toll is already higher than that of the Civil War and World War II. The U.S. is at risk of surpassing the grim milestone set by the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919: 675,000 deaths.
This degree of death and suffering is hard to comprehend. The ongoing, contagious nature of this pandemic has left friends and families to mourn in isolation, out of sight from the rest of us. In many ways, we have become numb to its carnage.
To illustrate the scale of loss, HuffPost compared the ongoing pandemic to other mass casualty events from U.S. history.
An average of 2,885 Americans are dying from COVID-19 every day, according to the COVID Tracking Project’s seven-day average, as of Feb. 8. That’s a staggering figure ― about as many Americans as perished in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 and during Hurricane Maria in 2017. Daily fatalities are much higher than the worst mass shooting and the deadliest air crash in U.S. history.
Another way of contextualizing the damage done by the novel coronavirus pandemic is comparing it to each of America’s wars, its deadliest battle and its worst terrorist attack. More Americans are dying from COVID-19 each day than did during the entire War of 1812, which lasted three years. At its current pace, COVID-19 is killing as many Americans every 100 days as during all four years of U.S. combat fatalities in WWII.
COVID-19 Pandemic: COVID Tracking Project
Spanish Flu Pandemic: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire: United States Geological Survey
Hurricane Maria: George Washington University
Sandy Hook Shooting: Encyclopedia Britannica
Las Vegas Shooting: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Oklahoma City Bombing: FBI
American Airlines Flight 191 Crash: Federal Aviation Administration
Sept. 11 Attacks: 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Great Chicago Fire: Encyclopedia Britannica
Hurricane Katrina: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Afghanistan War and Iraq War: Department of Defense
Pearl Harbor Attack: National World War II Museum
Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War: Department of Veterans Affairs
Battle of Gettysburg: Encyclopedia Britannica
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Is it safe to see people who have gotten the coronavirus vaccine?
- What it means if your partner tests positive for COVID-19 but you don’t.
- How worried should you be about the new strains of coronavirus?
- The unexpected challenges of co-parenting during a pandemic.
- 19 things we took for granted pre-pandemic but now miss.
- Find all that and more on our coronavirus hub page.
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