On March 29, 2020, Dr Anthony Fauci went on CNN and told viewers that the coronavirus pandemic could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the United States. He admitted that he didn’t like to make predictions on “such a moving target” as “you could easily go wrong.”
And that prediction was indeed wrong.
At least 664,000 people across the country have died from COVID-19 since the crisis began about 20 months ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University reported on Wednesday.
This means that at least 1 in 500 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus, as CNN first pointed out. About 0.2% of our neighbors, friends and relatives have left.
Additionally, the true death toll is likely higher due to a lack of testing early in the pandemic and differences in how deaths are reported between states. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data on cases from February 2020 to May 2021, they estimated that the actual number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States was in fact 767,000 over the course of this period. The total would be even higher now.
When Fauci made his prediction in March 2020, the virus was primarily terrorizing New York City, which had reported fewer than 800 deaths by that time.
Much, of course, has changed since then. The current death toll has been fueled in large part by many Americans’ failure to adhere to basic public health guidelines, such as masking inside and getting the vaccine, once available.
And beyond the death figures, many, many more people across the country are known to have contracted the virus – the United States has recorded more than 41 million cases so far. Between 10% and 30% of these cases turn into what doctors and patients call long cases of COVID – where the patient has sometimes debilitating symptoms for weeks or months after infection.
Fortunately, there is evidence that long-lasting COVID is less common in people who have been vaccinated, and there is plenty of evidence that vaccination prevents serious illnesses and infections.
As of Wednesday morning, only 54% of Americans had been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
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