Ironically, the nation which is considered the most medically advanced in the world has the highest number of both confirmed cases and deaths. The US count sits at just over 48 million cases, which is 18% of the world’s total. Deaths, at just over 777,000 are 15% of the world’s total. US numbers are also undercounted according to most experts.
The US was hit very hard early in the pandemic. Deaths and cases in New York City and surrounding areas exploded in March, April, and May 2020. Another wave hit the Western states in summer 2020. A third hammered most of the U.S. a year ago when death rates and cases hit all-time highs. The current wave started in early September and has continued. Holiday gatherings this year could put infections higher again.
At this point, since COVID-19 began to affect people in late 2019 or early 2020, there have been over 260 million confirmed cases worldwide, and almost 5.2 million deaths. These numbers are also considered by many experts to be much too low. When the worldwide death figure crossed five million, Amber D’Souza, professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told National Geographic, “It’s quite possible that the number of deaths is double what we see.”
The state where the most people have died of COVID-19 is California. Confirmed deaths sit at 74,327, or close to 10% of the national total. Confirmed cases at 5,060,365 are 10% higher than the national figure. California’s population is just below 40 million, or about 12% of the American total.
California almost completely missed the first wave of COVID-19 infections in America which ran from March to May 2020. It was hit, at a moderate level, by the summer surge last year. The devastating spread in California was the surge that started a year ago and ran until late January. Highly populated parts of the state like Los Angeles County ran out of intensive care beds.
California is part of the current surge in the U.S. And, it faces two challenges in the months ahead. One is the likely spread due to holiday gatherings. Another is the possible arrival of the new Omicron variant.
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