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World Socialist Website - September 23, 2021

The normalization of death arises from the decision, rooted in class interests, to treat “economic health” and “human life” as comparable phenomena, with the former prioritized over the latter. Once the legitimacy of the comparison and prioritization is accepted—as it is by the political establishment, the oligarchs and the media—mass death is viewed as unavoidable.

This month, COVID-19 officially became the deadliest outbreak of infectious disease in American history, eclipsing the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 675,000 Americans over two years.

This grim milestone comes as the daily death toll surges throughout the United States. A staggering 2,228 Americans lost their lives on Wednesday to COVID-19, after 2,152 died on Tuesday. By the time this article is published, the US death toll will have reached 700,000, according to Worldometers.info.

The official death toll in the US is higher than in any other country. The United States makes up just 4.2 percent of the world’s population, but it accounts for 14 percent of the nearly 4.7 million deaths worldwide, according to official figures.

The hidden toll of the pandemic remains far higher than what is reported. A study from January of this year concluded that approximately 35 percent of COVID-19 deaths remain uncounted, meaning that the real US death toll is greater than one million, a figure consistent with a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

More than 9.1 million years of life have been lost to COVID-19 in the United States, according to a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “Our results demonstrate that COVID-19 has not been a pandemic just for the old and the vulnerable, but also for the younger and healthier groups,” noted the study’s authors.

The catastrophic impact of the Spanish flu, like the COVID-19 pandemic, was the product of the conscious decision of the ruling class to subordinate the preservation of human life to profit. ...
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