More than half a million people in the United States have now died from COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. While that figure is widely understood to be an undercount, the grisly benchmark is over twice that of any other nation on earth.
From failing to test early and effectively for cases to mediocre and halting lockdowns, virtually everything about the U.S. COVID-19 response has been lackluster—or worse. The rollout of vaccines and the easing of post-holiday surges are showing some early signs of reducing deaths. But the fact is that at least a quarter-million Americans have died of this disease since mid-November alone.
In an effort to convey the lethality of the novel coronavirus in the United States, we looked to major American cities to see how their populations compared to the national loss of life. Below, 11 major U.S. cities that as of the most recent Census estimate counted fewer than 500,000 people as inhabitants—and where the national equivalent of their entire population has now been claimed by an unprecedented scourge.
There are just 37 American cities with populations higher than 500,000. While some of their populations are far from being surpassed, like New York at over 8 million residents, others like Atlanta—with an estimated population of 506,811 people—are just days away.
As the national death toll continues to rise, The Daily Beast will update this story with graphics reflecting the cities whose populations this pandemic has effectively claimed nationwide.