More people have died during of covid-19 in the United States than those estimated to have died of influenza during the 1918 pandemic. As of Monday, more than 675,000 U. S. deaths associated with the coronavirus have been reported since Feb. 29, 2020, per a Washington Post tracker. According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s roughly how many died of influenza in the United States between 1918 and 1919 — along with more than 49 million people globally in the “deadliest pandemic of the 20th century.” (Coronavirus has killed nearly 4.7 million globally.)That’s a grim milestone, but as The Post’s Aaron Blake explains, it needs to be put into context. The U. S. population is more than three times larger than it was roughly a century ago: While in 1918, 675,000 deaths represented about 1 in 150 Americans, it’s currently 1 in 500. The coronavirus has also killed fewer of the people it infects than the 1918 H1N1 flu virus, although it’s not clear whether “that reflects the relative deadliness of the virus, the advances in health care and mitigation over the past 100 years, or some combination of both,” Blake writes. That doesn’t mean the parallel isn’t concerning. With overwhelmed hospitals, wars over vaccine mandates, and another winter approaching, the coronavirus doesn’t seem to be burning itself out like the flu virus did 100 years ago. Instead, it’s adapting, with new, more contagious variants like delta. The estimated death toll of the 1918 pandemic is just that — an estimate — meaning it’s possible that we had already surpassed it. On Sept. 10, Danish authorities lifted all pandemic restrictions and pronounced that covid-19 is no longer a “critical threat” in the country. Vaccination rates are high — 86 percent of all eligible citizens 12 and older have received at least one shot, and 95 percent of people 50 and older are fully vaccinated. Denmark’s death toll during the pandemic was only 450 people per million citizens, compared to 1,982 per million in the United States. How did Denmark, and its 5.8 million people, beat the covid-19 pandemic? As part of Denmark’s largest behavioral covid-19 research project (the HOPE project), we surveyed more than 400,000 individuals in Denmark and seven other countries. Our findings suggest that citizens’ high and stable trust in their health authorities has been a crucial factor in Denmark’s success. This trust, shown in the figure below, encouraged high vaccination rates and the successful implementation of key policies such as mass testing and coronavirus passports. A second shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosts protection against symptomatic and severe covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the drug company announced early Tuesday. Those booster shots also generated additional antibodies, molecules churned out by the immune system to help fight off infections.

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