REFLECTING ON THE LOSS –
May 13, 2022 – “It really should be a moment for us all to reflect on what sort of society we want to have,” she added.
Experts say deaths were all but inevitable from a new virus of such severity and transmissibility. Yet, one million dead is a stunning toll, even for a country the size of the United States, and the true number is almost certainly higher because of undercounting.
It is the result of many factors, including elected officials who played down the threat posed by the coronavirus and resisted safety measures; a decentralized, overburdened health care system that struggled with testing, tracing and treatment; and lower vaccination and booster rates than other rich countries, partly the result of widespread mistrust and resistance fanned by right-wing media and politicians.
The virus did not claim lives evenly, or randomly. The New York Times analyzed 25 months of data on deaths during the pandemic and found that some demographic groups, occupations and communities were far more vulnerable than others. A significant proportion of the nation’s oldest residents died, making up about three-quarters of the total deaths. And among younger adults across the nation, Black and Hispanic people died at much higher rates than white people.
Understanding the toll — who makes up the one million and how the country failed them — is essential as the pandemic continues. More than 300 people are still dying of Covid every day.
Among wealthy countries, the United States has been notably unsuccessful at persuading residents to get fully vaccinated and boosted. Today, about a third of people across the United States have not been fully vaccinated, and some 70 percent of the population has not received a booster. (By contrast, 17 percent of people in Canada have not been fully vaccinated, and 46 percent have not had boosters.)
Nearly half of the deaths from Covid in the United States occurred after vaccines were made widely available. The failure to vaccinate, epidemiologists say, contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths. During the Omicron wave in December 2021 and January 2022, for instance, the Covid death rate in the United States was higher than in Germany, France, Britain or Canada, which had each fully vaccinated and boosted larger shares of their populations.