In late October, the United States passed a grim milestone: more people in the United States had died of COVID-19 in less than two years than the approximately 700,000 who have died in the U.S. in the four decades of the AIDS pandemic.
By World AIDS Day, this gap has grown. Nearly 800,000 people are known to have died of COVID-19. If current trends continue—and they don’t have to—hundreds of thousands of people could die of COVID in the U.S. in 2022, while perhaps 15,000 people living with HIV may die next year of any cause.
These dire numbers are worth comparing and considering, with a few caveats.
First, judging deaths in bulk numbers flattens what is actually happening. It is hard to do justice to the more than 100,000 people in the U.S who died by drug overdose last year (a 30 percent increase from the previous year) and the hundreds of thousands who have died from HIV and SARS-CoV-2. Every person who has died in these pandemics is worthy of being known as they lived and loved in their time on this earth.
Also, we will never truly know precisely how many people have died of AIDS or from COVID.
And yet, this milestone is important in its scale. I have known so many people for decades who have lost and mourned loved ones to AIDS; I have seen quite intimately the toll
— source scientificamerican.com | Steven W. Thrasher | Dec 1, 2021