This weekend, less than a year from the time the World Health Organization declared the global pandemic, the United States of America passed 500,000 deaths from the pandemic. Please note – this is not global deaths. The US total is approximately 20% of the recorded deaths around the world by COVID19. It is American COVID19 deaths only. It also only the number of confirmed COVID19 deaths. Experts say the excess deaths in the US this year suggest the actual number of Americans who have died from COVID19 in the last 11 months may be as much as three times higher than the confirmed total.
To grasp the scale of that calamity, 500,000 deaths are not only more deaths than were recorded in each of the major US military conflicts of the 20th century – it is more than the total death counts of all those conflicts combined.
A few myths persist regarding this extraordinary milestone.
It’s Not the Flu
The first myth suggests the prevalence of COVID19 is nothing more than the flu. The myth argues that flu deaths in prior years paralleled the same figures. This suggestion counters historical facts and common sense. The chart below shows the historical trend of flu-related deaths in past years compared to the last 11 months of COVID19 deaths.
(Note: The measurement for each year is through traditional flu season, so 2018 is literally 2018-19 in the months when flu activity is highest.) Source Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
The peak year of American flu-related deaths is comparable to one month of American coronavirus deaths.
It’s Not Over Reporting
Experts also suggest the US could see a drastic decline in flu-related deaths in 2020. That is an unintended consequence of social distancing, facemasks, and other steps meant to counter COVID19 in the last year. It is NOT because deaths from influenza, pneumonia, and other health conditions are being fraudulently reported as COVID19 this year. This myth is being perpetuated by prominent anti-vaxxers such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and gained a lot of traction in social media over the last year.
- Distorted Facts on COVID19 Deaths Reporting – Factcheck.org
The reality is that COVID19 deaths have occurred most frequently among at-risk populations with preexisting conditions. In other words, it is harder on people who have preexisting health issues. So is the flu. That is why flu and pneumonia are often linked together as flu-related deaths. COVID19 is separate from the flu and pneumonia, but at-risk populations can frequently have both. My own grandmother had multiple health conditions before she passed away in 2020. She even contracted COVID19 – however, her death certificate did not attribute her death to COVID19.
A question that believers in the myths noted above (which have been repeatedly disproven over the last year) might consider is this – Why am I willing and even longing to believe in a false fact rather than the reported COVID19 statistics? It is one thing to believe in incorrect facts, but a more in-depth consideration is to consider what drives our belief in one set of facts over another set of facts. These drivers are what lead us to accept conspiracy theories and also entrap us for easy deceptions in an era when deceit and fraud flow rampantly.
Additionally, for those who insist on believing in false facts about COVID19, but also have a genuine desire for truth and living a compassionate lifestyle, consider the following. If you are wrong (and none of us have a monopoly on all the facts), what level of disrespect do your beliefs and subsequent behavior demonstrate to the family members of half a million COVID19 victims? Sometimes being right, or proving we are right is not the higher way.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…1 Peter 3:15