More than 250,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. The tragic story in numbers | World news

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More than a quarter of a million people are now dead from Covid-19 in the United States. The victims come from a variety of racial backgrounds, from different age groups, locations and occupations; and no state in the nation has been unaffected as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

The largest public health emergency in a century also equates to an economic disaster, for the US and its industries as well as for families and individuals struggling to survive in the face of a strong resurgence of Covid-19 this fall and winter.

This is the story of the pandemic in numbers and the tragic toll it has taken in terms of lives and livelihoods lost.

The victims

  • 250,029 people killed by the virus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

  • 11,485,176 confirmed cases in the US.

  • For every 10 women who have died from the virus, there have been 13 male fatalities, according to the Sex, Gender and Covid-19 Project coalition. A total of 3.51% of men who have contracted Covid-19 have died, compared to 2.76% of women, despite females accounting for almost 52% of confirmed cases.

  • 75% of deaths are people 65 and older, according to CDC figures, lower than the 80% peak earlier in the pandemic. Incidence into the fall season was highest among the 20-29 age group, accounting for greater than 20% of new infections.

  • Covid-19 diagnoses of children in the US have surpassed 1 million, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday (16 November), though the CDC says fatalities in those 24 and younger are fewer than 500.

Line charts of 7-day rolling avg. daily deaths and cases.

Race

  • Black, indigenous and Latino Americans are dying from the virus at a rate at least triple that of whites, after age adjustments, according to Amp Research Lab’s Color of Coronavirus project. One in 875 black Americans and one in 925 Indigenous Americans are dead, the only two ethnic groups with more than 100 deaths per 100,000 population.

  • CDC figures show blacks also have higher rates of hospitalization, 4.7 times greater than that of white non-Hispanics. Most affected are Native American or Alaska Native persons, admitted to hospital 5.3 times more often than whites.

  • State figures collated by Kaiser Family Foundation show wide disparities in the racial makeup of cases and deaths. For example, blacks in Washington DC make up 45% of the population but account for 75% of deaths.

Bar chart showing rates of death by race.

Location and occupations

  • Almost 40% of deaths across the US have been nursing home residents or workers, a New York Times tracker reports, even though long-term care facilities account for only 6% of cases. In 17 states at least one half of all Covid-19 deaths are linked to nursing homes.

  • At least 1,375 frontline medical workers are known to have died due to Covid-19, according to Lost on the Front Line, an interactive tracker hosted by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News.

  • Almost 30,000 food production workers have been infected or exposed, and at least 238 have died, the majority employees of meat plants, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

  • One-fifth of the 137 reported deaths of inmates in federal prisons, a total of 26, came at Butner correctional facility in North Carolina. Bureau of Prisons figures show about 20,000 inmates and 2,000 staff have been infected.

Testing and the response

  • Donald Trump’s April promise that 5m Covid-19 tests a day would be carried out “very soon” in the US fell way short of the mark, the total finally climbing above 1.6m for the first time on 13 November, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

  • Worryingly, the positivity rate of new cases is showing a disproportionate rise back towards 10%, more than double the June low of 4.1%.

  • Newer “rapid” antigen tests for Covid-19 have proven less reliable than established polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests using a long nasal swab. Molecular PCR testing takes longer for results, but can detect all active infections that the instant tests can miss. Antigen tests have a higher incidence of false negatives.

  • Hospitalizations are surging again, placing extra pressure on resources, accommodations and healthcare workers. Patients currently hospitalized passed 60,000 for the first time on 10 November, the Covid Tracking Project reported, climbing to 70,000 only six days later.

Testing in the US

Controversial treatments and anti-vaxxers

  • Vaccinations against Covid-19 could begin by the end of the year, the US government says, after significant recent breakthroughs by two pharmaceutical companies. Moderna announced its vaccine had a 94.5% success rate – “as good as it gets” according to Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert. Pfizer’s vaccine is more than 90% effective.

  • Severe logistical challenges and a crisis of public confidence will need to be overcome to ensure the success of one of the largest mass vaccination efforts in history. The US military will help distribute vaccines but allocations will be based on population, not the availability of healthcare workers to administer it. Also, almost a year of coronavirus misinformation from Donald Trump has eroded trust in official messaging.

  • Therapeutics touted by Trump as a cure for coronavirus have “little or no effect”, the World Health Organization says. Trump took remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon in hospital in October, claiming experimental antibodies had “wiped out” the virus. The WHO says one study it coordinated, which spanned 30 countries, showed the drugs do not appear to affect mortality or progression of the virus.

Economic fallout

  • The total economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic in the US through fall 2021 is estimated at $16tn, or 90% of gross domestic product (GDP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

  • More than 11.1 million Americans were unemployed in October, a drop of 1.5 million from the previous month but still almost double the pre-pandemic figure from February of 5.8 million.

  • 6.9% was the official unemployment rate in October, down from an April peak of 14.7%, but also double the February rate. The coronavirus resurgence nationwide raises the prospect of new lockdowns and a further slowing, or reversal, of the economic recovery.

  • About 3.6 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer, and face losing benefits in December. Federal Cares Act funding expired in September, and in the absence of a further economic stimulus package from Congress, additional pandemic relief programs will end next month.

  • Black workers were laid off more, and hired back less, than white workers, according to research from the Rand Corporation. More than 7% of previously employed black workers are no longer in the labor force.

Unemployment statistics.

Businesses

  • Almost 100,000 small businesses have now closed permanently, representing 60% of businesses that shuttered temporarily during the pandemic, an economic impact study by Yelp shows.

  • Tens of thousands more businesses will close and millions more jobs will be lost this winter if Congress fails to agree on a new aid package, business analysts fear.

  • One in six restaurants, employing more than 3 million workers, are in permanent or long-term closure, according to the National Restaurant Association, and the industry expects to lose $240bn by the end of the year.

  • US air carriers furloughed a further 38,000 workers when Cares Act payroll support funding expired 30 September and warn of more job losses to come. At least 43 commercial airlines have failed this year, travel data company Cirium found.

Health insurance

Food supply

  • Food prices are up 4% compared with a year ago, according to the most recent figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Essentials such as meats, poultry, fish and eggs were up 6.1%, driven by reduced supply and surging demand. Prices of food consumed away from home recorded the largest 12-month increase since May 2009.

  • Food insecurity has soared through the pandemic, with the nation’s largest food bank in Texas reporting a doubling in demand for its services, to 800,000 pounds of food distributed per day. Feeding America reports that millions of Americans are forced to choose between paying rent or buying groceries.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: More than 250,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. The tragic story in numbers | World news

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