Most people probably think the word casualty is synonymous with the word death, but it actually includes both deaths and injuries; soldiers and civilians wounded during a war count as casualties, whether they die or not. Since the American Revolution, there have been around 2.9 million American casualties in every war combined; 1.4 million deaths (48.3%), 1.5 million injuries (51.7%)
As of July 1, there have been 2.6 million cases of coronavirus in the United States alone. The number of cases per day has spiked recently, so we’ll eclipse the total number of wartime casualties in about a week. The actual death rate is much lower, only ~120k (4.6%), but I can’t stress enough how more people will have gotten sick in six months than have been affected by every single war in 250 years.
If we look only at the number of deaths, it still paints a horrifying picture
37k Americans died in the Korean War: we passed this in mid-April
58k died in the Vietnam War: we passed this in early May
- We passed Korea and Vietnam combined in late May (95k)
117k died in World War I: we passed this in late June
405k died in World War II: we may plateau before we pass this, but there’s no guarantee. Cases could spike again, maybe a few times, before the virus finally burns itself out (if it ever does). If things continue at their current rate, we won’t pass this until mid-2021. I’d certainly hope our leadership will have pulled their heads out of their asses by then, but I’m not holding my breath.
650k died in the US Civil War: likewise, we may not pass this until 2022. Deaths appear to have been slowing in the last few weeks, so if we can get a handle on overall transmission, we should be able to keep this figure well below half a million.
290k died in the Confederacy (we could pass this in December)
360k died in the Union (we could pass this by spring)
It’s scary how widespread this is, and how little our government is doing to mitigate it. If we don’t immediately change course, I can’t see an end in sight; we’re less than half a year in, things will almost certainly get worse before they get better. Under any other circumstances, I would give a half-hearted platitude and simply say “vote,” but that’s not going to be easy considering one half of the country is actively trying to disenfranchise the other. That said, we’ve been experiencing sustained social unrest for over a month now, so if this momentum continues we may be able to force the hand of the powers that be. America is not doomed, there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep the faith, stay strong, stay safe, stay home (if possible)