Over 900K COVID deaths – more than all U.S. combat deaths in every war combined

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Over 900K COVID deaths – more than all U.S. combat deaths in every war combined

According to an article in Wikipedia, the U.S. has had 666,441 combat deaths in all of the wars the U.S. has ever fought. COVID has now killed over 900,000 Americans.

The combat death total includes:

  • World War II – 291,557
  • Civil War – 214,938
  • World War I – 53,402
  • Vietnam War – 47,434
  • Korean War – 33,686
  • Revolutionary War – 8,000

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, “Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, America’s death toll is closing in on one million.”

The WSJ adds, “Federal authorities estimate that 987,456 more people have died since early 2020 than would have otherwise been expected, based on long-term trends. People killed by coronavirus infections account for the overwhelming majority of cases.”

These are just the deaths actually caused by COVID. “Thousands more died from derivative causes, like disruptions in their healthcare and a spike in overdoses,” according to the Journal.

As to any comparison to WWII, the WSJ points out, “Covid-19 has left the same proportion of the population dead—about 0.3%—as did World War II, and in less time.”

The Journal adds:

  • Unlike the 1918 flu pandemic or major wars, which hit younger people, Covid-19 has been particularly hard on vulnerable seniors.
  • It has also killed thousands of front-line workers and disproportionately affected minority populations.
  • It robbed society of grandparents, parents, spouses, sons and daughters, best friends, mentors, loyal employees, and bosses.

Epidemiologists commonly measure excess deaths to gauge the full impact of major events, from heatwaves to hurricanes.

For the pandemic, the CDC calculated the excess by comparing deaths from each week of the pandemic to averages from the prior six years.

The agency then makes some adjustments to account for factors such as

  • the time it takes to collect death certificates;
  • declines in other causes of death such as influenza that offset some Covid-19 deaths; and
  • the possibility some people who died of Covid-19 might have died from something else by now.

In 2019, the U.S. recorded 2.85 million deaths, following a climb of about 1.6% a year over the decade as the population grew and aged.

In 2020, the number ballooned by 18.5% to 3.38 million deaths.

Last year, 2021, provisional data show 3.41 million deaths.

The CDC has registered roughly 875,000 Covid-19 fatalities on death certificates. In at least 90% of those cases, the disease is listed as the underlying cause. For the remainder, it was listed as a contributing cause.

What’s incredibly sad to me, as a physician, is knowing that a very high percentage of the current deaths are occurring in unvaccinated individuals and among those who are vaccinated but not yet boosted.

If you’re eligible for the vaccine or the booster, now’s the time to get your vaccination status updated. This will protect you, your family, your friends, and your colleagues.

This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.



  1. Chris J says:

    Interesting and sad article.
    However, the Civil War death count is low. Most historians place the death toll at around 620,000 (including both the Southern and Northern armies and those who died of disease while in military service as well as those killed in actual combat). More recent research raises the toll to somewhere between 650,000 to 850,000 and settles on 750,000 as a compromise. So adding another 450,000 to the Civil War death toll would bring it close to 1,000,000. Still, comparing US war deaths with covid deaths provides a sobering point of reference. Here’s an interesting link if anyone cares to read further: https://www.history.com/news/american-civil-war-deaths

    • Hello Chris,

      Thanks for the note. The numbers I cited were combat deaths. Indeed, “total” deaths for the Civil War were listed at 655,000. But, as you say, irrespective of the actual numbers, the fact that COVID deaths in less than two years have exceeded the U.S. “combat deaths” from all of our wars is sobering indeed.

      Dr. Walt

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