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.