More Americans have died from Covid-19 than 1918 flu pandemic

WASHINGTON : Despite a century of medical advances, more Americans have now died from Covid-19 than the number who succumbed to the 1918 flu pandemic, according to new data.

The latest grim milestone comes as the country is experiencing a fourth wave driven by the contagious Delta variant, with low vaccination uptake in many regions the main cause of death. Uptake has been hit by a polarised political climate and vaccine misinformation.

Johns Hopkins University tracker showed 675,722 US coronavirus deaths as of last Friday, which surpasses the 675,000 US deaths during the influenza outbreak that began in the last year of World War I.

All told, some 50 million died worldwide in the flu pandemic - sometimes inaccurately referred to as the "Spanish flu" - making it the deadliest event in human history. That far exceeds global Covid-19 deaths so far - around 4.7 million.

But the United States has borne a disproportionate 14 per cent of those fatalities, despite making up only 5 per cent of the world's population.

The American population in 1918 was less than a third of what it is now, meaning the flu deaths would be equivalent to some 2.2 million in today's terms. - AFP