THIS year has proved to be the deadliest in US history and worse than the 1918 pandemic as Covid killed one American every 33 seconds, reports say.
Disturbing data has suggested that the United States is on track to have 3.2 million deaths by the end of 2020 – 400,000 more than in 2019, it was reported on Tuesday, largely as a result of coronavirus.
The USA has recorded more than 319,000 coronavirus deaths as of Tuesday and 18 million total infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press noted that deaths usually rise to 20,000 to 50,000 each year but this 15 percent increase in deaths from last year is the largest annual uptick since 1918.
That year, thousands of US soldiers and Americans died from a vicious flu pandemic, which pummeled the young, old, infirm, and even healthy people in the 20-40 age bracket.
The CDC estimated that around 50 million people around the world perished from this avian flu worldwide in 1918, with 675,000 fatalities occurring in the US.
The agency had described the H1N1 Spanish Flu which wiped out a third of the world's population as "the most severe pandemic in recent history."
One hundred and two years after the Spanish Flu, Covid-19 has proved to be particularly perilous for the elderly and people with underlying conditions.
A year before the virus rapidly spread from Wuhan, China, in 2020, America's mortality rate had actually fallen in 2019.
This was largely because less people were dying of heart disease and cancer as life expectancy increased by several weeks for the second consecutive year.
Speaking about the 2019 decrease, Robert Anderson, who oversees CDC death statistics said “it was actually a pretty good year for mortality, as things go."
In 2020, life expectancy could plummet by three full years and coronavirus pays a large role in this, but deaths stemming from heart and circulatory diseases, diabetes and dementia appear to be rising.
Pneumonia fatalities reported early in the year could have actually been coronavirus-related and the cause of death mistakenly recorded so early in the pandemic.
Suicide rates dropped 2019 versus 2018, Anderson noted, but this drop didn't continue in 2020 as drug overdose deaths worsened.
However, this was on the uptick before the pandemic hit with 81,000 drug overdose deaths recorded in the 12 months ending in May – the highest ever recorded in a year, per CDC data released last week.
Covid also impacted dealers' supply so they have laced heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine with cheap and deadly fentanyl, experts told the AP.
Shannon Monnat, a Syracuse University researcher who studies drug overdose trends, said: “I don’t suspect there are a bunch of new people who suddenly started using drugs because of COVID.
"If anything, I think the supply of people who are already using drugs is more contaminated."
Meanwhile, hope is on the horizon after the FDA recently approved the second Covid vaccine from Moderna while healthcare works and politicians have been getting the first two-dose shot of Pfizer and BioNTech's jab.
Yesterday, President-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady Dr Jill Biden got their first vaccine on live tv, with Kamala Harris and her husband getting their initial shot next week to avoid a simultaneous reaction.
Dr Anthony Fauci, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins got the Moderna vaccine on camera today, alongside NIH front-line workers.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen got the shot last week but Donald Trump has been advised not to take it.
Both vaccines are around 95percent effective but for people over the age of 65, Moderna’s vaccine was found to be 86percent successful at preventing the disease.
However, Americans may have to wait seven months to get a Covid vaccine even as Fauci, Azar, Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top officials get the jab.
The nation's top infectious diseases expert estimates that most Americans will have access to the new Covid vaccines by mid-summer.
Fauci told Good Morning America on Tuesday that he expects to start vaccinating the general population "somewhere in the end of March, the beginning of April."
However, Fauci said the process could take up to four months to reach all Americans who want to receive the vaccine.
The first doses started rolling out last week, with health care workers, first responders, the elderly and politicians on the priority list.
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