Special Report

This State Has the Most COVID-19 Deaths in America

Ironically, the nation that is considered the most medically advanced in the world has the highest number of both confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. The U.S. recorded just over 50.2 million cases, which is 18% of the world’s total. Deaths, at just over 798,000, are 15% of the world’s total. Contributing considerably to these counts is California, the state with the most COVID-19 deaths in America. 

The U.S. 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 increase infection rates again, particularly as the omicron variant spreads.

Since COVID-19 began to affect people in late 2019 or early 2020, there have been over 270 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 5.2 million deaths. Many experts consider these numbers to be much too low. 

When the worldwide death figure crossed 5 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.” U.S. case and death counts are also undercounted, according to most experts. (Find out which states are doing a better job fighting the virus: COVID-19: These are the states fighting it most successfully.)

To find the state with the most COVID-19 deaths, 24/7 Wall St. used data from state and local governments current as of Dec. 13.

The state where the most people have died of COVID-19 is California. Confirmed deaths sit at 75,554, or close to 10% of the national total. Confirmed cases, at 5,171,240, are also about 10% of 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 in America, which ran from March to May 2020. It was hit, at a moderate level, by the summer surge last year. The surge that started a year ago and ran until late January was the devastating one in California. Highly-populated parts of the state like Los Angeles County ran out of intensive care beds. (Find out if California is among the states where the most people are vaccinated.)

California is part of the current surge in the U.S. and faces two challenges in the months ahead. One is the likely spread due to holiday gatherings. Another is the arrival of the omicron variant.

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