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How many people have died of COVID-19 in the United States since the outbreak began, according to Johns Hopkins University. This is a toll once unimaginable thought.
Although 1 million deaths were widely expected for some time, the reality is still devastating.
“It’s horrible, horrible,” Dr. Anthony Fawcett, the White House’s chief medical adviser, told NPR in an interview. “A lot of people die from an infectious disease in two years – it’s very sad, and very sad and tragic.”
More than a million people have died of AIDS in the United States since the epidemic began decades ago, and more than the deaths from the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. It is the 10th largest city in San Jose, California, in terms of population.
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“It’s one of those things where numbers are so big, it’s hard to wrap your head around it,” said Jennifer Nujo, an epidemiologist at Brown University. “It’s impossible to imagine that people – loved ones – are missing from this world now. It’s really, really hard to understand.”
So many people have died from covid-19 that the disease which was not there three years ago has become the third leading cause of death in this country after heart disease and cancer.
Many died early in their lives as life expectancy in the United States plummeted to its lowest level since World War II, the lowest in more than a quarter of a century.
Dr. Howard Merkel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, said: “It simply makes the mind restless, as if our minds needed to be further distracted from this epidemic.” “It makes me very sad.”
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To further complicate the tragedy, experts agree that 1 million underestimate how many people actually died from COVID-19 – many deaths were not recorded or were attributed to other causes.
Those who died of other causes of the epidemic were not included in the toll because, for example, they failed to provide the necessary care for diseases such as heart attack, diabetes and cancer.
It does not take into account all the additional suffering and devastation caused by the epidemic. People have lost their jobs or businesses, have become addicted to drugs or alcohol out of frustration, have been abused, have lagged behind in their education and have experienced intense grief over the loss of a loved one.
“It’s like this giant snowball that is going to have this growing impact on the health of the country in addition to what has already been done in the wake of Kovid’s death,” said Debra Amberson, a sociologist at the University of Texas.
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Despite all this, the nation seems intent on holding back the epidemic, even as infections are on the rise again, new forms are emerging and hundreds of people are dying every day.
William Hanez, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said: “It’s shocking to me that so many people have acknowledged a million deaths. It’s not a trivial number. It’s a million people.” “And the fact that we’ve taken this terrible toll, and people are eager to get out of there – and not examine how we got there – is deeply disappointing.”
Experts say that there are many reasons behind this. A big part of it is that people are just tired, living in fear for two long years hiding from the virus, and seeing that many parts of their lives have been destroyed.
However, a part of it has died. There were many older people.
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Deborah Carr, a professor of sociology at Boston University, said: “There’s a saying that’s wrong: ‘These old men are probably going to die anyway.’ “And that’s not necessarily true. The people of their 70’s and 80’s could really have many more years left. And Covid took those years away from them.”
The epidemic also hit the poorest people and people of all castes, meaning that large sections of society were not directly or almost as deeply affected.
“There is an incredible disparity between race and ethnicity in who died at Kevid,” Amberson said.
At the same time, many deaths have occurred out of public view. Many have died alone in a nursing home or intensive care unit, which complicates the tragedy but seems far-fetched.
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“People have somehow died on stage,” said Dr. Nicholas Kristakis, who studies social networks at Yale. “And obviously people who have seen death from COVID-19 have a very different perspective than those who haven’t.”
Another reason is that although many people may know someone directly who has died, or even know someone who has lost someone, most people do not know it.
One estimate is that each of the dead left behind nine relatives. While this means millions of people are mourning, only 9 million people in a country of about 330 million are immediately affected.
“You’ve probably heard of someone – a colleague, or a friend of a friend, or someone on the street, or someone in your building, or something like that, who has died,” Christakis said. “But you are less likely to be closely associated with the person who died.”
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What most people have seen is how the epidemic has disrupted their lives, for example, preventing them from visiting their elderly parents, going to college, meeting friends, traveling or keeping jobs.
The emergence of massive omikron has slowed, and vaccines and advanced treatments are now protecting most people from serious illness and death. But millions of people are still unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, the infection is on the rise again, and another, even more dangerous form could break out at any moment.
During this time, according to recent estimates, thousands more will die next year, although another variant has not emerged.
“People are dying,” said Justin Lesler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who assists the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “While we don’t expect next year to see anything we’ve seen in the last two years – a new variant is missing – a significant number will still die.”
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And while it is impossible to know exactly when the epidemic will end and what the long-term effects will be, experts say it is likely to deepen.
“It’s an earthquake in the history of the world. It’s a catastrophic event in the history of the United States,” said Alan Brandt, a medical historian at Harvard University.
“I think we will live in the age of COVID-19 once we have more control over the epidemic. And I think historians and anthropologists, sociologists and economists will evaluate the effects of this epidemic for the rest of the twentieth century – the first century,” says Brand. .