It will take years to better understand the immense impact of Covid-19, but a trove of data already paints a clear picture.
As of this week, nearly 645 million cases have been reported worldwide. More than 6.6 million people have died with 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 globally.
More than 81% of related U.S. deaths have occurred in people over age 65, a number 97 times higher than that for those ages 18 to 29, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In New York State, a total of 59,220 Covid-related deaths had been reported as of Monday. Of those in the state who died outside New York City, 53% were women, 75% were white, 12% were Black, 7% Hispanic and 3% each were of Asian and or other races.
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Thirty-nine were children 9 and younger; 35 aged 10-18. There were 51,295 aged 60 or older. The largest age group, 15,918, were in their 80s.
Almost 54% of state residents who died had high blood pressure and 33% had diabetes. Twenty-two percent had high cholesterol, 14% coronary artery disease, 13% dementia, 12.2% renal disease, 11.9% COPD, 10.8% cancer, 10.1% atrial fibrillation and 8% congestive heart failure.
The agency also reported in August that life expectancy in the U.S. dropped last year for the second year in a row, to age 76, the lowest since 1996 and the largest two-year decline since 1923.
In September, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of people working from home during the first two years of the pandemic tripled, median home values rose by $40,000 and the percentage of people who spent more than a third of their income on rent increased.
“The widespread adoption of working from home is a defining feature of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Census Bureau statistician Michael Burrows told the Associated Press.
Mental health woes worsened in the early months of the pandemic but began to ease with improved Covid-19 immunity and treatments, according to a review of dozens of other studies published last month in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
A study this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, which examined mask-wearing in Boston Public Schools, concluded that the practice lowered the spread of Covid-19 while it was in force – a lesson good to know if a significant uptick surfaces, or for the next pandemic.
For now, things have improved when it comes to Covid-19. As the holidays approach, the World Health Organization reported slightly more than 9,400 deaths linked to the coronavirus globally during the first week of November, compared to as many as 75,000 deaths at the height of the global Omicron surge in February.
That provides “cause for optimism,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, while still urging vigilance as Covid-19 subvariants proliferate.
Cathy Malchiodi, a psychologist and art therapist in Louisville, Ky., wrote a piece last year for Psychology Today about the phenomenon of “collective effervescence,” coined a few years before the Spanish flu pandemic of a century ago.
Could that be in store for us in the years to come?
“As the aftermath of that 20th-century pandemic waned,” Malchiodi wrote, “what came to be called the ‘Roaring Twenties’ emerged. In some parts of the world, that decade became a time of creative collaboration, a tremendous upsurge in the arts and innovations. As we move through this current pandemic, I wonder if we will see a similar uptick in collaborative output outside of Zoom screens or device-driven connecting.”