Covid death toll: US marks year of devastation as fatalities near 400,000 – around number of Americans who died in WW2

THE US is preparing to mark a year of the Covid pandemic as fatalities near 400,000 – around the same number as died in World War II.

The grim milestone is set to be reached on Wednesday, when Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated as President, with around 3400 Americans dying every day.

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The United States makes up four per cent of the world’s population but around 20 per cent of the its Covid deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease began circulating on January 18 after being imported from China.

The first case was announced on January 21 – that of a 35-year-old man who had recently returned to Washington state from Wuhan, China.

At that point very little was known about the virus though China was putting the Covid epicenter city of Wuhan into what would be a 76 day lockdown.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the then obscure head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sought to assure Americans “their risk is low" as Donald Trump thanked the Chinese for their cooperation.


The President announced a White House Covid taskforce on January 29 and two days later a travel ban preventing for foreign nationals who had traveled to China within the past 14 day.

The first official Covid death, a patient near Seattle was announced on February 29.

The first actual death in the United States was that of 57-year-old mom Patricia Dowd, from San Jose, California, on February 6 – though she was not diagnosed as such until months later.

By the end of February, the CDC reported the first community infection – a patient who hadn’t traveled to places Covid was common and had no known exposure to anyone with it. 

By March the US officially became the hardest hit country, with at least 81,321 cases and more than 1,000 deaths.

On16 March measures were announced encouraging all Americans to work from home when possible and limit gatherings of more than 10 people for an initial15-day period.

By Spring, the catastrophic effect on the economy was become apparent and Covid put 10 million Americans out of work.

That include 6.6 million people who applied for unemployment benefits in the last week of March.

The Year Of Covid

January 21 – first recorded case in the US announced

January 29 – White House Task Force formed

January 31 – Travel ban in place  

February 29 – First death announced of man in Seattle

March 12 – Many schools close and move to online classes

March 13 – President announces national emergency

April 30 – US airlines announce face masks must be worn

May 1 – Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott moves to ease restrictions

May 27 – Deaths pass 100,000

June 20 – For 3rd straight day Florida & South Carolina set single day records

July 10 – 68,000 new cases – a single-day record for 7th time in 11 days

July 17 – Highest single-day rise in cases anywhere in the world, with 77,638 infections

October 2 – President and First Lady test positive for Covid

November 5 – Single-day count of more than 100,000 new cases for the first time

December 10 – More Covid deaths in a day than those on 9/11  

Cases began to explode in New York, while Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio waited crucial days to close schools and businesses, research found.

Bodies were piled up on trucks and New York and New Jersey to this day have the worst death rates in the nation, driven by the Spring surge.

With clamour mounting to get the economy working again, many were states – notably Texas on May 1 – eased restrictions.

But as America began to unlock, people began mingling giving the disease ample opportunity to spread.

Summer saw a surge in cases in the South and on June 20, for the third straight day, Florida and South Carolina broke their single-day records for new cases. 

With the Fall, the President insisted the US was turning a corner but on October 3, he revealed that he was himself infected.

Frustration began to boil over into arguments over masks and public officials such as California Governor Gavin Newsome under fire for not following their own guidelines.

The hope is now a vaccine can provide a route out of the misery.

Biden has said he is aiming to get 100million Americans vaccinated in the first 100 days of his presidency, as the CDC warned "super-Covid" may be the dominant strain by March.

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