U.S. Reaches 500,000 Covid Deaths

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The virus has reached every corner of America, devastating dense cities and rural counties alike through surges that barreled through one region and then another.

In New York City, more than 28,000 people have died of the virus — or roughly one in 295 people. In Los Angeles County, the toll is about one in 500 people. In Lamb County, Texas, where 13,000 people live scattered on a sprawling expanse of 1,000 square miles, the loss is one in 163 people.

The virus has torn through nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, spreading easily among vulnerable residents: They account for more than 163,000 deaths, about one-third of the country’s total.

Virus deaths also have disproportionately affected Americans along racial lines. Over all, the death rate for Black Americans with Covid-19 has been almost two times higher than for white Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the death rate for Hispanics was 2.3 times higher than for white Americans. And for Native Americans, it was 2.4 times higher.

By Monday, about 1,900 Covid deaths were being reported, on average, most days — down from more than 3,300 at peak points in January. The slowing came as a relief, but scientists said variants make it difficult to project the future of the pandemic, and historians cautioned against turning away from the scale of the country’s losses.

“There will be a real drive to say, ‘Look how well we’re doing,’” said Nancy Bristow, chair of the history department at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and author of “American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic.” But she warned against inclinations now to “rewrite this story into another story of American triumph.”

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