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US coronavirus death toll surpasses American military casualties from World War I

COVID-19. (NIAID-RML/Zuma Press/TNS)

Over the two years that the United States fought in World War I, the nation suffered just over 116,500 military deaths. The COVID-19 coronavirus has eclipsed that death toll in four months.

Tallies kept by Johns Hopkins University ticked past the World War I figure Tuesday evening. By Wednesday morning, the total registered 116,963 deaths.

Death tolls kept by the World Health Organization show that about 26% of the world’s coronavirus deaths have occurred in the United States.

Initially health officials thought the first U.S. death from coronavirus occurred Feb. 28 in the Seattle area, but postmortem examinations in April revealed deaths began earlier that month in Santa Clara County, California.

The CDC registered 2,104,346 cases of coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday, adding more than 18,500 just that day.

The deadliest event in United States history remains the American Civil War. New research published in 2012 raised death estimates for that event to about 750,000 for Union and Confederate forces.

Here’s a look at some of the other deadliest events in the United States’ history.

1918 Influenza pandemic: An estimated 50 million people worldwide. The CDC estimates 675,000 Americans perished from the pandemic.

World War II: Figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs set total U.S. military casualties at 405,399 people. That includes nearly 292,000 battle deaths.

World War I: The VA lists American war casualties at just over 116,516 people in 1917 and 1918.

Vietnam War: Military casualties are pegged at 58,220 people who died in battle or in theater.

Korean War: Military casualties are set at 36,574 people who died in battle or in theater.

War in Iraq: There were 4,431 U.S. casualties, including Defense Department civilian casualties, in the Iraq War.

War in Afghanistan: As of this week, the Department of Defense listed 2,427 deaths from Operation Enduring Freedom (2001 through 2014) and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (since 2014), including Defense Department casualties.

Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks: 2,977 victims (plus 19 hijackers),

Among natural disasters, the highest death toll is attributed to the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas. It is estimated 6,000 to 8,000 people were killed.

The estimated death toll for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and ensuing fires – about 3,000 people.


© 2020 The Plain Dealer