On Friday, the New York Times reported that the United States had now suffered over 700,000 deaths related to Covid-19, despite widely-available vaccines and marked drops in deaths in places like California. The nation’s most populous state, once the epicenter of the pandemic, reported just 126 new deaths on Friday.
Just one week ago, Covid deaths passed 675,000, surpassing the toll from the Spanish Flu and making the current pandemic the deadliest in U.S. history.
Now, about a week later, the virus has continued past yet another milestone to 700,107 related deaths. According to the Times, the states driving the grim march are largely in the South, with Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi among some of the worst-hit regions. Deaths are happening more frequently among younger people and the vast majority of those who died of late were unvaccinated.
In fact, every age group under 55 saw its largest death toll of the pandemic in August, according to a Times Survey.
Florida ranks 22nd in the nation in terms of vaccinating its residents, according to the CDC. Alabama ranks 43rd. Mississippi and Alabama are 48th and 49th, respectively.
California, on the other hand, is 17th. It has made a concerted effort to get residents vaccinated, with Governor Gavin Newsom announcing on Friday that the state would require vaccinations for all eligible children if they wanted to attend class in person.
While deaths have eased significantly nationwide, Newsom on Friday warned against complacency.
“We’re all left wondering as we move through the summer surge,” he said, “what lies ahead of us in the winter and the spring.” Newsom, of course, was alluding to last winter’s horrific surge, which experts had warned against. While many of those same people expect a much better winter on the way, the fact remains that if there was a pronounced surge this winter some of the variables adding to it look even worse.
For instance, the number of cases from the summer 2021 surge peaked at a much higher point that they did in 2020, and they peaked a month later. That means the nation is at a higher baseline going into winter. Daily cases were 48,000 on October 1, 2020, according to the CDC. On today, a year later, the country recorded 109,000 daily cases.
As Newsom said on Friday, “There’s still a struggle to get to where we need to go.”
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