100,000 dead

The United States has now lost over 100,000 people to the COVID-19 virus (CDC, Johns Hopkins, healthdata.org, worldometers.info, ourworldindata.org, NBC News, NBC News).  While the US leads the world in total COVID deaths, it trails several countries in deaths per million (statista.com).  This latter comparison is murky, however, as it may represent a number of factors, including effectiveness of governmental response, demographics (age, health, etc.) of a country’s population, health system capability and effectiveness, and quantity and quality of testing.  Another factor is the method by which deaths are counted (BBC).  So, it’s difficult to know which factor, or combination of factors, is most to blame for the high number of fatalities in the U.S.  Still, despite any noise in the data, it is clear that the US response to the pandemic has been poor (The Guardian), coming late and arriving confused and disjointed.  A recent study suggests several thousand lives could have been saved in the US if the response had been timelier and better (Pei et al. 2020, The Hill, NYT).  In any event, no end to the pandemic seems to be in sight for the U.S., especially as it begins to ease its current restrictions and attempts to return to normal operations.  Such measures will obviously lead to more COVID deaths.  How many, though, remains to be seen.

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