Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

COVID-19's estimated death toll surpasses the Spanish flu pandemic

In terms of raw numbers, the coronavirus pandemic is now believed to be the deadliest disease event in American history.

More than 675,000 people have reportedly died of COVID-19 in the United States throughout the pandemic, which surpasses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's estimate for the number of fatalities during the Spanish flu pandemic that began in 1918. 

Proportionally, though, the death toll from the Spanish flu was still greater, considering the U.S. population was much smaller back then. Either way, it's a grim milestone, and coronavirus deaths will continue to rise as the country deals with the more transmissible Delta variant. The Spanish flu became less deadly about two years after the initial outbreak, but it's unknown how the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic will play out, David Morens, a medical historian at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Stat News.