The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.
The big picture: Whatever context you try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America’s horrific failure to contain the virus.
- The coronavirus has killed a bigger share of the American population than it has in almost any other wealthy country.
- The death toll here is equivalent to roughly 65 Sept. 11 attacks. Three times more Americans have died from COVID than died in the Vietnam war — in only a fraction of the time.
This crisis has hit people of color especially hard.
- Black and Latino Americans are dying at about three times the rate of white Americans.
- They have also suffered far more from the economic fallout, which has fallen largely on lower-wage, service-industry workers.
And deaths keep coming — we’re averaging roughly 830 per day — even as the country increasingly sees the pandemic as background noise, as live sports resume and schools reopen and interest in news about the pandemic wanes.
Between the lines: The percentage of infected people who ultimately die from the coronavirus is lower now than it was in the outbreak’s earliest months, partly because doctors have gotten better at treating the virus and partly because outbreaks are now occurring within younger and lower-risk groups.
- Overall cases are on a downward trajectory right now, following an enormous spike over the summer.
- But the U.S. has never managed to get the virus firmly under control. Cases and deaths could get worse again as the weather gets colder and people move indoors, and the onset of flu season could make treatment more difficult.