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COVID has killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 flu

The nation's latest number of COVID-related deaths is nearly the same as the number of fatalities seen a century ago during the influenza pandemic of 1918.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this November 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, a nurse takes the pulse of a patient in the influenza ward of the Walter Reed hospital in Washington. Historians think the pandemic started in Kansas in early 1918, and by winter 1919 the virus had infected a third of the global population and killed at least 50 million people, including 675,000 Americans. Some estimates put the toll as high as 100 million. (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress via AP, File)

ARIZONA, USA — COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000. 

And like the worldwide scourge of a century ago, the coronavirus may never entirely disappear. Instead, scientists hope the virus that causes COVID-19 becomes a mild seasonal bug as human immunity strengthens through vaccination and repeated infection. 

For now, the pandemic still has the United States and other parts of the world in its jaws. U.S. deaths are running at over 1,900 a day on average, and the country’s overall toll has topped 673,000. 

The 1918-19 influenza pandemic killed about 675,000 people in the U.S. when it had a population one-third the size of what it is today.

On Monday, Arizona health officials reported 2,020 new confirmed COVID-19 cases but no new deaths. 

It brings Arizona’s totals since the pandemic began to 1,068,823 cases and 19,513 deaths. Currently, 57.4% of Arizona’s vaccine-eligible population has been at least partially vaccinated.   

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