US Covid death toll surpasses that of 1918 flu pandemic

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Tyler Dyer, News Editor

The U.S. coronavirus death toll has just passed 675,000 on Monday. This surpasses the number of Americans believed to have died during the Flu of 1918, making the coronavirus the most deadly pandemic in American history. The U.S. reported 675,444 total confirmed coronavirus on Monday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 675,000 Americans died between 1918 and 1919 of the H1N1 virus, aka the Spanish Flu. When Spanish media reported on it more than other countries fighting World War I, it was the most deadly pandemic in U.S. history until Monday when confirmed coronavirus deaths overtook the death toll for the Spanish Flu. Despite the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, which did not exist for the previous pandemic, coronavirus deaths surpassed the 1918 influenza deaths and continue to rise. According to the CDC, an estimated 50 million people worldwide died of the Spanish Flu, while nearly 4.7 million coronavirus deaths were reported globally on Monday. America’s population is roughly 328 million people. So, that death toll means that about 1 in 500 Americans has died from the coronavirus. However, the U.S. population was significantly less over a century ago, so the 1918 flu had a higher death rate. Experts believe the official count for cases and deaths is an undercount that does not reflect the true impact of the pandemic because coronavirus cases are not always correctly identified.

About 2,000 Americans continue to die from the virus on average each day. While experts debate whether booster shots are needed, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 36% of the country has not received a single dose of vaccine yet. In the United States, Covid-19 vaccines started rolling out to certain groups in mid-December 2020, nine months after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. By that time, more than 298,000 Americans had already died from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins data. Fast forward to Monday, and 36% of Americans ages 12 and older have not yet been fully vaccinated amid this Delta variant surge, according to CDC data.