Well-Being Longevity

America ends 2020 with two deadliest days in a row, and it’s going to get worse

candles lit at a vigil

Story at a glance

  • A third wave of the pandemic began this winter and continues even as COVID-19 vaccinations are distributed.
  • Some of the deadliest days in American history have occurred during the pandemic.
  • Public health officials are asking Americans to stay home and continue observing preventative measures.

Hours before the ball is set to drop in New York City this New Year’s Eve, Times Square is empty. Instead of crowds, the end of 2020 will be marked by some of the deadliest days in United States history.

More than 3,000 people died on each of the last two days of the year, higher than the death toll of either the Sept. 11 or Pearl Harbor attacks. Altogether at least 343,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus in the past year, and public health experts are concerned it will only get worse as they warn Americans not to gather for New Year’s celebrations.


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In New York, where hotels and clubs would normally be filled beyond capacity, indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and face masks and social distancing are required in public. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a Los Angeles restaurant came under fire for an invitation to make “discreet” indoor dinner reservations (both indoor and outdoor dining are currently prohibited). 


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In a statement on their website, the restaurant said the implication was unintentional and that reservations would only be taken if permitted by law. But officials are concerned that others are planning to flaunt the restrictions, which could boost the current surge in coronavirus cases and deaths. 

“The reason I’m concerned and my colleagues in public health are concerned is we very well might see a post-seasonal, in the sense of Christmas and New Years, surge — and, as I’ve described it, a surge upon a surge,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN. “It is really quite troubling. 


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