Business World

COVID-19 toll in US surpasses 1918 pandemic deaths


THE US’s COVID-19 (coronaviru­s disease 2019) deaths have surpassed the toll of the 1918 influenza pandemic, a milestone many experts say was avoidable after the arrival of vaccines.

The US has reported 675,446 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data — more than the 675,000 that are estimated to have died a century earlier.

The US hits that deadly mark despite the widespread availabili­ty of COVID-19 vaccines, which were developed in record time in a display of the extraordin­ary advances in medical science in the past century. The inoculatio­ns have been passed up by some 70 million eligible Americans, many of them encouraged by Republican politician­s and conservati­ve media.

“To have so many people who have died with modern medicine is distressin­g,” said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translatio­nal Research Institute, who noted there were no ventilator­s or vaccines in 1918. “The number we are at represents a number that is far worse than it should be in the US.”

The milestone also comes as the fastspread­ing Delta variant has pushed the US into a dangerous new phase, upending hopes that the pandemic had passed and setting the stage for an uncertain winter.

Of course, the comparison­s to the 1918 pandemic are highly imperfect. For starters, the US has about three times as many residents as it had a century ago, meaning the implied death rate is about a third as high.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines