‘An irreplaceable loss’: US grapples with 1 million COVID-19 deaths – Healio

May 13, 2022

3 min read


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Twenty-eight months after identifying its first case, the United States is nearing what President Joe Biden this week called “a tragic milestone”: 1 million COVID-19 deaths.

“One million empty chairs around the dinner table. Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic,” Biden said in a statement.


As of Friday, the CDC’s COVID data tracker reported more than 996,300 deaths and 82 million U.S. cases since the start of the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations — but not COVD-19 deaths — are trending upward.

“COVID-19 is not over. Hundreds of people continue to die every day, and thousands experience the lingering effects of long COVID,” Infectious Diseases Society of America president Daniel P. McQuillen, MD, FIDSA, said in a statement.

Below is a list of other notable milestones from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SARS-like illness has infected dozens in China

In January 2020, Chinese health authorities reported the emergence of an unidentified strain of pneumonia that had infected dozens of people since the middle of December 2019. Read more.

CDC confirms first US case of Wuhan coronavirus

Health officials confirmed he first U.S. case of the novel coronavirus in a Washington state man who had returned from China before the start of airport screenings. Read more.

WHO: Coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency

Aftet meeting for a third time, an emergency committee convened by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, MSc, declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Jan. 30, 2020. Read more.

US declares its own public health emergency over coronavirus

The U.S. declared its own public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak and began banning the entry of some foreign travelers from China. Read more.

COVID-19: WHO names disease caused by novel coronavirus

WHO designated COVID-19 as the official name for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus at the center of a global outbreak. Read more.

Clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine begins

The first U.S. clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine — testing what would become Moderna’s FDA-approved messenger RNA vaccine — began in March 2020. Read more.

‘We should have been prepared’: COVID-19 devastates vulnerable US

Early in the pandemic, Infectious Disease News spoke with experts about the U.S. response to the pandemic and why the country was caught off guard. Read more.

‘There will be a solution’: FDA committee OKs Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

In December 2020, just 11 months after the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence was posted online, Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for use in the U.S. The fast development and authorization was touted as “a remarkable success.” Read more.

FDA committee recommends authorizing use of second COVID-19 vaccine in US

A week later, the same advisory committee voted to recommend authorizing a second COVID-19 vaccine — made by Moderna — for emergency use. Read more.

‘Another huge milestone’: FDA panel endorses one-shot J&J vaccine

In February, the panel voted unanimously again to recommend authorizing the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson for emergency use, giving the country three vaccine options. Read more.

Long COVID: A ‘mysterious’ syndrome with ‘no clear pattern’ of symptoms

Among the many health consequences of COVID-19, there remain a few mysteries, including what causes the long-term, postacute sequelae known as long COVID. Last summer, we spoke with experts about the questions surrounding long COVID and the patients it affects, known commonly as “long-haulers.” Read more.

‘A milestone’: FDA approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

On Aug. 23, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people aged 16 years or older, making it the first fully approved COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. Read more.

FDA authorizes Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

On Oct. 29, the FDA authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years, noting that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in this age group. Read more.

FDA authorizes messenger RNA COVID-19 boosters for all adults

On Nov. 19, just 8 weeks after it authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people at high risk for severe disease, the FDA announced that any adult was now eligible for an extra shot. Read more.


CDC. COVID Data Tracker. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home. Accessed on May 13, 2022.

IDSA statement on COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. https://www.idsociety.org/news–publications-new/articles/2022/idsa-statement-on-covid-19-pandemic-in-the-u.s. Published May 12, 2022. Accessed May 13, 2022.

Statement from President Joe Biden marking one million American lives lost to COVID-19. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/12/statement-from-president-joe-biden-marking-one-million-american-lives-lost-to-covid-19/. Published May 12, 2022. Accessed May 13, 2022.