600,000 US deaths: An Analysis
The New York Times is reporting 600,000 US deaths this week, although the WHO stats are about 5,000 less. Nevertheless the WSJ did the qualitative analysis that I had downloaded the data for. Here it is
“Mercifully, the pace of deaths in the U.S. has slowed, which wasn’t the case for most of the pandemic. The country logged its first 100,000 deaths in May 2020, and the pace kept accelerating. It took close to four months for the nation to log another 100,000 deaths, about three months for the next, and just five weeks for the next. The most recent 100,000 deaths came more slowly, over about four months, thanks, experts say, to the protection offered by the vaccines.”
As my loyal readers would expect, I’ll follow with my own charts to visualize this data! Gotta love the data visualization first thing Sunday morning!
It took 72 days (after the 100th death — a benchmark I use for global covid tracking purposes) to reach the 100,000 deaths milestone — that occurred on May 28th.
Lockdowns slowed the pace, but our complaceny kicked in, and as we recall cases rose significantly in the summer of 2020. See the chart below — over 1.9m cases in July 2020 alone. The next milesone of 200,000 deaths was reached on September 19th.
By the time of the next milesone of 300,000 deaths on Dec 13th, momentum was very high. Travel was still very high over the thanksgiving period acting as a catalyst for COVID. Over 4m new cases recorded in November and 6 million in December.
The next 100,000 deaths was recorded on Jan 17th 2021 and came by at an alarmingly quick rate — just 35 days after the prior one. Momentum carried forward (the legacy from thansgiving and Christmas holidays) and the next 100,000 powered through in just 36 days on Feb 22nd.
Really turning the corner this time
Thank goodness for the vaccine rollout and renewed vigor on mask mandates. Post inauguration new US covid cases fell to 2.5m in February — about 40% of the prior month.
By the end of April 44% of US adults had received at least one COVID shot. As of June 19th that figure is 53%.
The final 100,000 deaths
According to the WHO we haven’t quite yet reached the 600,000th death mark. We are about 595,000 deaths. By my calculations the WHO will record that mark around July 7th. That will be 130 days since the prior milesone.
Is it too optimistic to say that’s the final milesone? I don’t think so… and I hope not. Science and data is on our side provided complacency doesn’t slow down our adoption of the vaccine.