1 Million Deaths and No End in Sight

Graves destined for the COVID-19 victims in the San Jose de Flores Cemetery on August 21, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Image: Marcelo Endelli/Getty
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Graves destined for the COVID-19 victims in the San Jose de Flores Cemetery on August 21, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Image: Marcelo Endelli/Getty

COVID-19 deaths passed the 1 million mark yesterday, just 9 months into the pandemic:

  • More deaths than the entire population of Jerusalem, the AP reports

  • 4X the people killed by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami,

  • 2.5X the crowds at Woodstock in 1969, 


“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” says Howard Markel, a University of Michigan professor of medical history.

And: The death toll is likely “a vast undercount,” given poor testing, reporting, and the likelihood that some countries are hiding cases. It’s also expected to mount as second waves headed to Europe and the US.

The outlook is especially troubling in the 5 countries with the most deaths, NPR Goats and Soda reports.

  • The US: Leading in total deaths and infections, the US hasn't deployed a coordinated strategy. Flare-ups of transmission in the Great Plains and the South are currently driving up the death counts.
  • Brazil, second in deaths, had started to gain control before a recent reversal.
  • India: With the 3rd highest death toll, India is still seeing about 1,100 deaths per day—but, deaths could be plateauing.

  • Mexico and the UK, ranking 4th and 5th, are also still in trouble. And, Argentina could soon join their ranks as infections and deaths have been ticking up steadily since June.
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