The death toll from the COVID pandemic has put the U.S. at another tragic milestone — more than 675,000 Americans, overall, have died of COVID as of Monday. That number surpasses the number of lives lost to the 1918 flu. The U.S. is averaging more than 2,000 daily deaths. William Brangham takes a wider look at COVID’s toll on the country.

William Brangham:

Throughout this pandemic, it’s been hard to keep perspective on the true scale of the losses caused by COVID-19. On the Washington Mall right now, artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg has planted an ocean of white flags, one for each life lost to the virus.

Another metric is a comparison to the past, and, this week, the U.S. matched the death toll from another terrible virus, the 1918 influenza pandemic.

For some perspective on then and now, I’m joined by Dr. Jeremy Brown. He wrote the book “Influenza: The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History.” And he is currently director of Office of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health.

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