How to think about 1 million COVID-19 deaths

Processing a grim milestone

A graveyard.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

The U.S. semi-officially marks its 1 millionth COVID-19 death this week, and President Biden ordered flags lowered to half-mast to mark the solemn occasion. In reality, the U.S. almost certainly surpassed a million COVID deaths months ago, with the formal acknowledgment of the stark threshold coming at a time when the coronavirus and its ever-mutating variants are no longer at the center of American life.

Effective vaccines and treatments have robbed COVID-19 of much of its sting. And a growing number of Americans are "done" with the pandemic. So how do we process this grim milestone?

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