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Your Evening Briefing: A Half-Million Americans Are Dead From Covid-19

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A funeral home in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 4.

A funeral home in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 4.

Photographer: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

It’s been little more than a year since the coronavirus was first detected in the U.S., and in that time at least 500,000 Americans have died from it. Far exceeding its death toll from fighting during World War II, the massive loss of life represents one-fifth of all confirmed Covid-19 fatalities across the globe. Some 35% of those Americans who perished were its most vulnerable: the elderly. Many would die alone, separated from loved ones during their final days. This American tragedy, unprecedented in modern times, followed a series of missteps by the Trump administration, as well as some state officials. Starting with botched testing and a drumbeat of misinformation from President Donald Trump, infections and deaths rose as precautions were politicized and premature reopenings encouraged. The year ended with a slow and disorganized vaccine rollout by states left to fend for themselves while a third wave of viral catastrophe washed over the nation. To this day, some Americans still consider the pandemic a hoax. “It’s almost unbelievable,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said of the latest death toll. “But it’s true.” —David E. Rovella

Bloomberg is tracking the progress of coronavirus vaccines while mapping the pandemic globally and across America