Today, U.S. coronavirus deaths passed the 100,000 mark. Within three months. The first U.S. death was reported on February 29th in the Seattle area, though several fatalities not attributed to the virus previously have since been reported. As of today, according to Johns Hopkins University’s global tracker, 28% of the world’s deaths due to coronavirus have occurred in the United States.
How did it get so bad in a nation than has prided itself in its science, its preparedness, and its resilience? Please take a few moments to examine the timeline of the nation’s response – or lack thereof – to the pandemic: “Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response.”
The country’s preparedness for a pandemic and its lack of response to warnings by top government officials is appalling!
So how do we measure 100,000 deaths against other catastrophic events in U.S. history? Consider this: within three months, more U.S. citizens have died from the coronavirus than in any war except for World War I (116,516), World War II (405,399), and the Civil War (655,000+). And the number who died of coronavirus will most certainly pass the number who died in World War I within the next four to six weeks.
The only pandemic to cause more U.S. deaths than coronavirus was the 1918 Spanish flu, with 675,00 deaths. The number who will die of coronavirus will far surpass those who have died from other pandemic events in the United States, including the: 1926 Polio epidemic, 6,000 deaths; 1957 – 1958 Asian flu, 116,000 deaths; and 2009 – 2010 swine flu, 12,000 deaths.
One thing we do know from the history of the Spanish flu experience is that a second wave is likely. And more deaths are coming.
We are many months away from developing a widely-deployable vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top infectious disease expert, says it is possible that a deployable vaccine may be available in December or January – seven or eight months from now. And that is being highly optimistic.
100,000 people have died from the virus in three months. As stay-at-home and social distancing orders are relaxed, exposure will spread, and many more will die over the next seven to eight months and beyond. Could we reach the U.S. death toll experienced during World War II (405,399) by this time next year? It is statistically possible.
The City of Nashua has taken a small step to try to slow down the spread of the disease in our community by approving an ordinance which requires the wearing of face masks in public as follows:
Employees of all businesses shall wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when interacting with the public and whenever they are within six feet of a co-worker or a customer.
Members of the public entering any business, including without limitation any outdoor area where business of any sort is conducted, work site, or government building must wear a face covering, such as a fabric mask, scarf, or bandana over their nose and mouth.
Members of the public entering a restaurant for the purpose of picking up food for take- out or any other purpose must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose. Members of the public dining outdoors at a restaurant may remove face covering while seated at their table.
Residents, visitors, and members of the public entering or present at a residential or commercial building complex of greater than two (2) units must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth while in common areas and communal spaces.
We are used to seeing signs that say “No shirt, No shoes, No service.” Keep in mind that those signs should now say: “No shirt, No shoes, No mask, No service.”
Protect yourselves. Protect your parents, your children, and your grandchildren.
Be smart. And stay safe. Thank you.