It did not have to be this bad

The US passed a grim milestone yesterday as the number of deaths from covid-19 passed 700,000, an average of around 35,000 per month since the pandemic hit here. It is a staggering number and the really sad thing is that so many of the deaths were avoidable, especially among those that occurred after vaccines became freely available.

It’s a milestone that by all accounts didn’t have to happen this soon.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 700,000 late Friday — a number greater than the population of Boston. The last 100,000 deaths occurred during a time when vaccines — which overwhelmingly prevent deaths, hospitalizations and serious illness — were available to any American over the age of 12.

The milestone is deeply frustrating to doctors, public health officials and the American public, who watched a pandemic that had been easing earlier in the summer take a dark turn. Tens of millions of Americans have refused to get vaccinated, allowing the highly contagious delta variant to tear through the country and send the death toll from 600,000 to 700,000 in 3 1/2 months.

Florida suffered by far the most death of any state during that period, with the virus killing about 17,000 residents since the middle of June. Texas was second with 13,000 deaths. The two states account for 15% of the country’s population, but more than 30% of the nation’s deaths since the nation crossed the 600,000 threshold.

The anti-mask, anti-vaccine zealots managed to convince many people that taking simple, science-based, common-sense steps to prevent a deadly infectious disease was somehow a sign that one had become part of a worldwide conspiracy to … achieve what exactly? The claims were too inchoate to make sense of.

If you want to get really depressed, check out this webpage that lists outspoken anti-vaxx and covid-denying activists who either died from the illness or been hospitalized with serious conditions.

The one that got to me most was that of a couple Marcus and Brenda Smalls, aged 44 and 38, who died of covid-19 within a week of each other leaving behind seven children. They believed that their religious faith would protect them.

What a tragic waste.


  1. K says

    It didn’t have to be this bad…how many did we lose to Ebola? 2 or 3?

    However, there’s a segment of the population with the mentality of toddlers, and if Daddy says no, they’re going to defy Daddy. Then there are the tribal-minded idiots who ignore the fact that Trump was vaxxed--since he said Covid was a hoax, the idiots can’t get vaxxed because that would be a sign of going against their tribe. You know, just exactly like rooting for another town’s sportzballz team. And then there are the stupids who have to FAFO or it’s not real to them.

  2. mikey says


    Also, don’t forget that since Saint Ronald Reagan (spit) de-clawed the FCC, it is perfectly A-OK to use the public airwaves to lie to all the rubes, if it’s for profit.

  3. Who Cares says

    It is a shame that the same people who are so rabid anti the COVID vaccine also tend to be the people who think that unthinking adulation of everything American is the only thing that matters. So they won’t even look outside their borders to see for example most of EU starting to basically throw out every measure (including masks), despite the winter season approaching, due to the high vaccination percentage. And even if they look then they’d claim since the US is the best that unlike those other shithole countries they don’t need a vaccine or protective/preventative measures at all.

  4. raven says

    The actual number of US dead from Covid-19 is much higher. It’s probably closer to 1 million dead. There are a lot of reasons for the undercount. One is that in Red states with large populations of fundie xians, they just aren’t bothering to record Covid-19 virus deaths any more.

    County coroner in Missouri says he omits Covid-19 from some death certificates
    The coroner, Brian Hayes, said he has excluded the virus from some certificates at the request of upset family members.

    You can be sure that this isn’t the only place that happens. The state of Florida is spending a lot of time and effort to undercount Covid-19 virus deaths.

  5. raven says

    From the article above.

    In May, a study from the University of Washington stated there was a significant undercount of Covid-19 deaths in the United States. The report estimated that the number of coronavirus fatalities in the country was about 57 percent higher than official figures.

    That would put the number of US dead at over 1 million.

  6. Katydid says

    I agree, the real death count is far higher than the official count for so many reasons. And yes, a lot of red states are purposely undercounting the deaths--“Got a refrigerated truckload here of dead 30-year-olds who all passed the same day…must be THE FLU!”f

    And I agree that there’s a “USA! USA!” crowd that simply won’t be told that there are other countries in the world that are not a charnel house. Funny side note; one of the “USA!” crowd just told me earlier in the week that “In Europe, they don’t have a variety of foods in the grocery stores like we do”. She didn’t realize “Europe” is made up of many countries, and while a market in the mountains of rural Italy that caters to a town of 50 pensioners might not have everything, you can find anything you like in Paris or Berlin or Madrid or Amsterdam or…

  7. Who Cares says

    That one probably has never been into a French or Spanish hypermarket. These were selling cars decades before Walmart started doing so, that is how freaking big those are.
    Or one of the countrywide chains where I live that bases what shops need on the local area. This means that I have one (biggest in the city*) near me that is selling freshly made while you wait sushi, pizza and salads. Incidentally those islands form a divider between the normal fruit & vegetables and the organically grown section, The organic section due to how things are grown only has seasonal fruit & vegetables some of which I can almost guarantee that that USA firster has never even seen.

    *Having a university and labs near help with what is being sold.

  8. Katydid says

    @Who Cares: I agree completely. Spent my childhood as a military brat, then the first part of my career in the military, then after retiring, took a job where I traveled a lot for work. I know that hypermarches exist, and also that a typical greengrocer will have an abundance of fruit and veg, usually labelled by country of origin. This labeling is usually not the case in the USA, leading some to believe the USA can grow strawberries in January.

  9. Dunc says

    Yeah, but the USA has 300 kinds of sugar-frosted breakfast cereal and spray cheese in a can. You won’t see that in Europe!

  10. M'thew says


    So they won’t even look outside their borders to see for example most of EU starting to basically throw out every measure (including masks), despite the winter season approaching, due to the high vaccination percentage.

    Well, here in the Netherlands we are seeing the slow decline in new infections and hospitalisations come to a halt and reversing again. I wonder whether dropping most of the restrictions really was a good move. And then the flu season will start soon, after a hiatus in 2020 due to the lockdown. I guess no-one is looking forward to a double whammy of flu and Covid, but in my opinion it’s not off the cards.

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