More than 150,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. Here is that tragic story in figures

Torri Donley

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been greater in the US than on any other country in lives and jobs lost. As the US passes 150,000 fatalities from the virus, we have gathered some of the most shocking data. These statistics tell a tragic story of how the virus […]

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been greater in the US than on any other country in lives and jobs lost. As the US passes 150,000 fatalities from the virus, we have gathered some of the most shocking data.

These statistics tell a tragic story of how the virus has disproportionately hit older people, people of color and those with lower incomes. They also capture some of the shortcomings in the official responses to its spread.

The victims

graphs of 7 day case and death rolling avg


  • Almost three times as many black people are dying of the virus compared with white people and at least 20,000 African Americans have died, according to Amp Research Lab. The virus is twice as deadly for black and Latinos than white people in New York City, preliminary data suggests. Wide disparities exist in states such as Missouri, where black and Latino people make up 40% of those infected, despite comprising just 16% of the state’s population.

  • African Americans are 70% of all coronavirus cases in Chicago, which is 30% black, and more than half of the state’s deaths, by early April. This rate has since declined somewhat but black people are dying of Covid at a rate two to three times higher than white people in Chicago.

Racial disparities charts showing how the pandemic is affecting black communities

Location and occupations

  • Up to half of the deaths in some US states have been nursing home residents or workers, studies have indicated. There have been 55 deaths at one Brooklyn nursing home, the Cobble Hill health center, according to reports.

  • More than 800 frontline medical workers are known to have died due to Covid-19, according to a tracker hosted by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News.

  • Scores of grocery workers have died across the country. Fifty-nine members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union have died, Axios reports. There have been 81 employees testing positive at one Walmart in Massachusetts, according to reports.

  • More than 90 meat plant workers have died from Covid-19, with many thousands more infected, according to the industry’s largest union.

  • 80% of inmates tested positive for Covid-19 at one Ohio prison and across the US, prisons and jails have reported large outbreaks, which could spread out to the community.

Testing and the response

  • 5m Covid-19 tests a day would be carried out “very soon” in the US, Donald Trump promised on 28 April. This many tests was needed by June to begin reopening the economy, according to a report by Harvard University’s Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics

  • 900,000 tests a day by mid-May should have be the target, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute research group.

  • In fact fewer than 800,000 tests were being carried out by the end of July, according to the daily tracking by the Covid Tracking Project.

  • 3,000 contact tracers – New York has recruited an “army” of contact tracers to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

  • The US contributed about $450m a year to the World Health Organization but Donald Trump has withdrawn the country from the international body.

a chart that details the level of testing in the United States

Controversial treatments and anti-vaxxers

  • A more than 1,000% surge in online demand for hydroxychloroquine came after Donald Trump backed the anti-malaria drug as a potential treatment for Covid-19, a study found, despite evidence it doesn’t work.

  • Almost 23% of adults in one poll said they would not be willing to take a vaccine against Covid-19 if it became available, amid concern from experts at the impact of the anti-vaxxer movement. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, has said there is an “alarmingly large percentage” of Americans who won’t take any vaccine.

Economic fallout

  • More than 36 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits in mid-May, meaning that more than one in five workers were out of a job. By mid July, the total claiming unemployment benefits was more than 14 million in 47 states.

  • 11.1% was the official unemployment rate in June, down from a peak of 14.7%, a figure that probably significantly underestimates the true scale of job losses, which are at a rate unseen since the 1930s Great Depression.

  • 40% of households earning less than $40,000 have experienced job losses, according to the Federal Reserve.

  • Only 20% of black workers reported being eligible to work from home, compared with about 30% of their white counterparts, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Only 6% of service industry workers say they can work from home, although some have been able to return to roles as states have reopened.

Us unemployment rate graph and weekly unemployment claims graph


  • More than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since March, an academic study says.

  • 3% of restaurants have permanently closed, 44% have temporarily closed and 11% say they expect to close permanently in the next month, according to research from the National Restaurant Association.

  • In July, roughly 2 million fewer passengers are passing through US airports each day compared to the corresponding day last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Health insurance

  • Up to 43 million people face losing their job-based health coverage since the coronavirus, according to the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That is nearly one-quarter of all Americans who rely on job-based insurance.

  • As many as 7 million people will be unable to find new health insurance coverage, according to the same report, joining 28 million who already lacked insurance.

  • Between February and May, 5.4 million American workers lost their health insurance after the pandemic caused them to lose their jobs, a study found.

Food supply

  • An average of 63% more food was being sought by food banks and pantries around the US in the wake of widespread job losses, according to Feeding America.

  • 2.6% was the rise in April in grocery prices, the largest such jump since the 1970s, the Washington Post reported, citing the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meats, poultry, fish and eggs were among the goods going up in price.

  • This article was amended on 27 May 2020 to add a word that had been unintentionally omitted, to clarify that research shows hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for Covid-19.

    This article was updated on 29 July 2020.

Source Article

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