The planet has reached a pair of grim milestones, 400,000 US COVID-19 deaths and 2 million worldwide.
It's as if 10 of the world's largest commercial jets fell out of the sky, every day for an entire year.
The official global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 2 million on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The tragic milestone came just over a year after the first Covid-19 death was reported in Wuhan, China.
While the 2 million figure is horrifying, experts say the real death toll is likely much higher. Only confirmed Covid-19 deaths are included in the tally, which means that people who die without a firm diagnosis may not be included.
With testing still inadequate in many countries across the world, there might be hundreds of thousands of additional deaths.
Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, said that an analysis of excess mortality suggests that as many as one fifth of coronavirus deaths might not be recorded.
"We have found that on average, total deaths are 20% higher than reported deaths," he told CNN in an email, adding that the ratio varies substantially across different countries.
As vaccination programs start rolling out across the world, there is a glimmer of hope -- even though it's likely going to take years for everyone to be offered the shot.
In the meantime, the pandemic is getting worse. The death toll is rising faster than ever. While it took eight months for the world to record 1 million Covid-19 deaths, the second million came in less than four months.
A number of countries, including the United States, Germany, Sweden, Indonesia, Israel and Japan recorded their deadliest days of the pandemic in the past week. The number of cases globally is fast approaching 100 million.
Some 20% of the world's COVID dead, and almost 25% of the world's total COVID cases, must be laid directly at the feet of Donald Trump and his regime. And now the virus is mutating into more dangerous, virulent, and transmissible strains.
The months ahead are going to be brutal. Joe Biden at least has a plan.
President-elect Joe Biden plans to use FEMA and the National Guard to build coronavirus vaccine clinics across the United States, according to new details of his Covid-19 vaccination plan released by his transition team on Friday.
The Biden administration will also “quickly jumpstart” efforts to make the vaccines available at local pharmacies across the U.S., which should ensure that Americans have access to doses at facilities only miles from their home, according to the plan.
“Here’s the deal: The more people we vaccinate, the faster we do it, the sooner we can save lives and put this pandemic behind us and get back to our lives and loved ones,” Biden said at a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Thursday night. “We won’t get out of it overnight and we can’t do it as a separated nation.”
Drug store chains and pharmacies were supposed to take on a larger role in distributing the vaccine once the government expanded access to more people. But the slower-than-expected rollout has frustrated pharmacy chains. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores called on the federal government earlier this week to allow states to send more doses directly to pharmacies as they do with hospitals and health departments.
The group estimated that the country’s retail pharmacies could administer at least 100 million doses of vaccines each month, which would exceed the incoming administration’s promise of 100 million shots in 100 days.
The Biden administration has said current vaccination efforts are not sufficient to quickly and equitably vaccinate the vast majority of the U.S. population, adding, “We must ensure that those on the ground have what they need to get vaccinations into people’s arms.”
The problem is logistics, and Biden is tackling this head on. 100 million doses per month is the rate we need to get America inoculated by this summer and get us back to work, back to school, and back to being America.
But the next six months are still going to be hell.