People die of the flu sometimes. People die of COVID-19 sometimes. People die of suicide and drug overdoses and heart disease and a lot of other things. So if there haven’t been many COVID-19 deaths in your community yet, maybe you’ve convinced yourself that the coronavirus is about as deadly as other things you don’t worry about, like the flu.
But as this chart shows, it isn’t. Play the animation and you’ll see some familiar-sounding causes of death, ranked. These are not the world’s top causes of death; cardiovascular disease and cancer cause far more deaths than the causes shown here. But the causes of death on this chart are the ones that COVID-19 will leapfrog over by the end of the animation.
The chart starts at the beginning of 2020, and by February 8, COVID has arrived at the bottom, its deaths outnumbering those from natural disasters. It stays at that ranking until March 16, when it starts hopping up the chart. By March 30, COVID outranks diarrheal diseases and war. On April 11, it overtakes homicide. By the end of April, the coronavirus has overtaken malaria, and on May 15, there are more deaths globally from COVID than from suicide.
As the chart’s creator notes, these causes are still, combined, only 7% of global deaths. But the animation shows how quickly the coronavirus overtook those other causes. Cases of the virus are still growing worldwide. A full 60% of reported cases have occurred in the last month, in case you thought things might be slowing down. Unfortunately, we’re nowhere near the end. It’s going to get worse.
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