US grapples with grief as COVID-19 deaths near 200,000
The United States is approaching the miserable mark of 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus, and the pandemic is no longer focused on previous epicenters like New York City.
The growing number of COVID-19 cases across the US is raising fears that when colder weather forces more people inside, it could surpass the surge seen in the summer.
The United States is losing on average over 800 people a day to the virus - compared with fewer than 15 a day on average in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy and Britain.
The United States is still reporting on average nearly 40,000 new infections a day - the highest number in the developed world.
In the early weeks, New York City emerged as the epicenter of loss, but since then the disease has spread across the country, leaving a trail of suffering from major cities to small towns in all 50 states.
The United States has lost almost 70 times more people to the pandemic than it lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the anniversary of which the nation stopped to mourn earlier this month.
By year’s end, COVID-19 deaths could top 378,000, according to a projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. That would be close to the number of American military deaths during World War Two.
The losses have been particularly pronounced in Hispanic and Black communities, and among the elderly and front line workers.
“Nationally, the new age-adjusted analysis shows Black people are more than 3.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white people, and Latino people are nearly twice as likely to die of the virus as white people,” a research report from Yale University found in May.
This year has turned into a year of anguish in the United States and around the world where the death toll stands at nearly 1 million.
Every COVID-19 death in the United States results in about nine survivors who have lost a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child, Pennsylvania State associate sociology professor Ashton Verdery and other researchers wrote in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in July.
And swift, unexpected deaths like many of those from COVID-19 can be a potent trigger for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, which can manifest in myriad ways - including absenteeism, accidents, alcoholism, assault and self harm, experts said.