One in 1,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
The nation reached this harrowing milestone on Dec. 26, with 331,116 Americans dead from the virus, according to CNN. The nation has an estimated population of 330,750,000, and has experienced upward of 19 million infections since the start of the pandemic. Between Dec. 26 and Dec. 29, the number of Americans that have died from COVID-19 rose from 331,116 to 335,051, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
December has been the deadliest month so far in the pandemic, according to experts. The month, with several days left in it, has nearly doubled the death rate seen in November. Upward of 36,900 Americans died of COVID-19 in November, and 63,000 have died so far in December. Previously, April was the deadliest month of the pandemic, with 55,000 deaths.
A surge in holiday air travel has experts expecting the situation to worsen in January, potentially putting the U.S. in a “nightmarish” situation. Projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predict that a staggering 193,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 in the next two months.
Many hospitals around the nation are already overburdened. A post-holiday surge could see many become entirely overwhelmed, putting COVID-19 patients and other sick or chronic people at enhanced risk.
The pandemic, which will have lasted a full year in just a few short months, has worn down many Americans. Several vaccines have begun distribution, but experts anticipate it will be months before enough of the population is inoculated to noticeably slow the pandemic.
“We need to be prepared for the fact that it is going to be a slow rollout in many places and that it will not change our behaviors or necessarily the trajectory of the pandemic in this country in the short term,” Dr. Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, told CNN.
Until, and even after, vaccines are widely available, precautions must be taken. Preventative measures, which were carefully heeded toward the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, are becoming less common among certain groups. Vigilant mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing will continue to be necessary if Americans hope to slow the pandemic by summer of 2021.