United States reaches sobering landmark with 500,000 COVID-19 deaths

By Lindsey Leitner, Apprentice Editor

The United States reached a landmark 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Feb. 22, a sobering reminder of the lethality and impact of the pandemic even as vaccinations become more available across the country..

 Hitting closer to home, New Jersey alone has reported nearly 24,000 deaths and more than 800,000 COVID-19 cases, according to reporting from NJ.com and the New York Times. NJ.com reports that New Jersey has one of the highest death rates, with 262 deaths for every 100,000 people.

“And then you realize that that’s somebody’s mom, somebody’s dad, somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s child, people have lost entire families,” Nurse Karen Kinsey said.

Even as vaccines become more widely available, the spread of COVID-19 has not stopped, as it reaches one year since the first known case in New Jersey.  

“I truly thought that we were going to have a handle on this much sooner than we did, but it seems like the country shut down too slowly,” Kinsey said. “We should have heeded the warnings and seen what was going on over in Europe.”

More Americans have died from COVID-19 than from World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined, the New York Times reported in mid-February. 

Looking ahead to the road to recovery, scientists and politicians are keeping a close eye on reports and testing of available COVID-19 vaccines as reports of coronavirus mutations and adaptations continue to crop up in the U.S. and abroad. 

“Bacteria and viruses are smart, their job is to survive,” Kinsey said.  “They mutate and they adapt.”