It will take years to better understand the immense impact of Covid-19, but a wealth of data is already painting a clear picture.
As of this week, nearly 645 million cases have been reported worldwide. More than 6.6 million people have died from the virus that causes the disease.
More than 100 million Americans have tested positive and more than 1.1 million have died, the highest national total reported anywhere in the world.
More than 81% of deaths in the US have occurred in people over the age of 65, a number 97 times higher than that of 18- to 29-year-olds, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A total of 59,220 Covid-related deaths were reported in New York state as of Monday. Of those in the state who died outside of New York City, 53% were female, 75% white, 12% black, 7% Hispanic, and 3% each Asian and/or other race.
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Thirty-nine were children 9 and under; 35 aged 10-18. There were 51,295 aged 60 or older. The largest age group, 15,918, was in their 80s.
Nearly 54% of the state’s deceased residents had high blood pressure and 33% had diabetes. Twenty-two percent had high cholesterol, 14% coronary artery disease, 13% dementia, 12.2% kidney disease, 11.9% COPD, 10.8% cancer, 10.1% atrial fibrillation, and 8% heart failure.
The agency also reported in August that U.S. life expectancy fell last year for the second straight year to 76 years, the lowest level since 1996 and the largest two-year decline since 1923.
In September, the US Census Bureau reported that the number of people working from home tripled in the first two years of the pandemic, the average home value rose by $40,000 and the percentage of people working more than one third of their income on rent increased.
“The widespread adoption of work-from-home is a defining feature of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Census Bureau statistician Michael Burrows told the Associated Press.
According to a review of dozens of other studies published last month in the Journal of Affective Disorders, mental health problems worsened in the early months of the pandemic but began to ease with improved Covid-19 immunity and treatments.
A study this month in the New England Journal of Medicine examining mask-wearing in Boston public schools concluded that the practice reduced the spread of Covid-19 while it was in effect — a lesson learned good to know is when a significant increase appears. or for the next pandemic.
At the moment things have improved in relation to Covid-19. As the holidays approached, the World Health Organization reported just over 9,400 coronavirus-related deaths worldwide in the first week of November, compared with up to 75,000 deaths at the peak of the global omicron surge in February.
That gives “reason for optimism,” said Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, but urged vigilance as the sub-variants of Covid-19 multiply.
Cathy Malchiodi, a psychologist and art therapist in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote an article for Psychology Today last year about the phenomenon of “collective effervescence,” coined a few years before the Spanish flu pandemic a century ago.
Could this be in store for us in the coming years?
“As the aftermath of this 20th-century pandemic wore off,” Malchiodi wrote, “the so-called ‘Roaring Twenties’ emerged. In some parts of the world, this decade has been a time of creative collaboration, a tremendous boom in the arts and innovation. As we move through this current pandemic, I wonder if we’ll see a similar surge in collaborative output outside of Zoom screens or device-driven connections.”