American COVID-19 deaths have just moved beyond a grim milestone. One of every 1,000 residents of the United States has died from the pandemic this year. The total population of the country is 330,676,544. Fatal cases of COVID-19 reached 332,283, up by 3,111 in a day.
Only a few other nations have death rates that are higher based on 1,000 people. Among them are Belgium, Spain, Italy, and the U.K. In contrast, the rate in Canada is less than a third of the American figure. The same is true for Russia and Germany, although many experts believe that the Russian government releases numbers that are undercounted.
The spread of the disease and death toll across the U.S. is uneven. The state with the most deaths has been New York since the earliest stage of the pandemic. A total of 36,454 New Yorkers died, with 24,790 in New York City. The city has had almost as many deaths as the entire state of Texas where the figure is 26,624. However, most of the NYC fatalities occurred in March, April, and May.
The rapid spread of the disease in New York City battered counties in three states next to the metro area. In the city itself, there were 7,645 deaths in Kings County (Brooklyn) alone. Nationwide, only Los Angeles County, with 9,153, and Cook County, home to Chicago, at 7,908 have more. The Queens County part of New York City has had 7,479 deaths, fourth among American counties. Bronx County ranks fifth at 5,092. To the east of New York City, Middlesex County in New Jersey has had 2,626 deaths. Essex County, New Jersey has had 2,353 fatal cases. To New York City’s east, Nassau County has had 2,346 deaths, and Suffolk County 2,211. Fairfield County, Connecticut, to the northeast of New York City has posted 1,669 fatal cases.
Two cities in the Midwest were hit hard early in the spread. Cook County was one. The other was Wayne County, home to Detroit, where there were 3,542 deaths. Many of these were attributed to the city’s poverty.
As the disease spread to the south and west the hardest-hit areas moved to the metropolitan areas around Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, and Miami. Not only does LA County have the largest number of deaths in an American county, but, at the current pace, the figure is likely to exceed 10,000 by mid-January. Deaths in Harris County, home to Houston, have reached 3,283. Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, has posted 4,781 fatal cases. Miami-Dade has had 4,096.
The current increase in fatal cases is particularly difficult in Los Angeles. ICU bed capacity in the area is at or near 100%.
Sparsely populated states have suffered disasters of their own. The counties with the highest death rates currently tend to be in North Dakota and South Dakota. The deadliest county in America is Jerauld County, South Dakota.
The national situation is bound to worsen substantially over the next three months. The
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine forecasts that U.S. COVID-19 deaths will reach 528,000 by April 1st. The scientists there added that “Even with a vaccine, if states do not act to bring current surges under control, the death toll could reach 770,000 by April 1.”
Should that happen, the COVID-19 death number will reach 1 in 500 in the spring.