Hundreds of Americans, thousands around the world are still dying of COVID-19 every day

COVID-19 memorial in UK
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

For many Americans, it may feel like the coronavirus pandemic is essentially over. But as of Thursday, "more people have died from COVID-19 already this year than in all of 2020," The Wall Street Journal reports — more than 1.884 million in the first six months of 2021, versus 1.880 million in 2020, according to official figures tallied by Johns Hopkins University. And while U.S. COVID-19 deaths have fallen 90 percent since their peak in January, hundreds of Americans are still dying every day from the coronavirus.

Deaths are not distributed evenly, either around the world — Europe and North America accounted for 72 percent of daily deaths at the beginning of 2021, and now more than 75 percent of daily deaths are in South America, Asia, and Africa, the Journal reports — or inside the U.S. The main factor in who lives and who's dying now, globally and in the U.S., is vaccinations.

"More than half of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and it's the remaining unvaccinated population that is driving the lingering deaths," The New York Times reports, citing experts and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The share of older Americans dying started dropping as soon as they became eligible for the vaccine, and the sharpest drops in deaths are among white people 75 and older and Asian Americans under 30. Half of all U.S. deaths are now among people 50 to 74, a group that made up a third of U.S. deaths in December, the Times reports.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Nursing homes still account for about 7 percent of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths, even as such deaths have dropped more than 90 percent since December, the Times reports. Geographically, "while there is no longer a large epicenter, death rates are still high in small pockets across the nation." Read more about who is still dying from COVID-19 in the U.S., and view illustrative charts, at The New York Times.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.