Five million people have died of the coronavirus worldwide.

While worldwide deaths are slowing right now, Reuter’s tally of deaths breached that 5 million line on Friday, September 30. The first 2.5 million took over a year, the second less than eight months.

On the same day, the United States, which has the largest recorded death toll of any country, passed 700,000 deaths. That makes COVID-19 more deadly than the American Civil War (620,000 soldiers, mostly due to disease).

Friday was also Russia’s worst day in the pandemic yet, with a record 887 known COVID-19-related deaths that day.

A large culprit in the acceleration of deaths has been the Delta variant, which is currently the dominant strain worldwide. It is both more infectious and more dangerous than the original strain.

Worldwide, we can all agree that Friday marked a terrible checkpoint. Five million are dead, and the number will keep rising for some time.

But things are, we can hope, improving. Worldwide, over 6.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered. Some countries are administering third doses and booster shots (not the same thing), though the World Health Organization (WHO) has asked for that to be suspended for all but the most vulnerable until more people in developing nations have had access to their first and second shots. The vaccination rate, which peaked in the summer, is currently declining because those who were both willing and able to have already had their shots. Those remaining (in developed countries) are either unwilling due to misinformation campaigns, don’t have simple access, or both.

The H1N1 pandemic of 1918, which many have looked at for what to expect now, killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide and was presumed to have infected a third of the entire planet’s population. In the United States, the death toll for that pandemic was estimated at 500,000 to 850,000 lives, meaning COVID-19 may have already supplanted it as the most dangerous disease in American history.

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