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The current exponential increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is reaching a calamitous scale in the United States, potentially overwhelming the health care system and causing substantial loss of life. The news media dutifully report each day’s increase in new cases and deaths, but putting these numbers in perspective may be difficult. The daily US mortality rate for COVID-19 deaths is equivalent to the September 11, 2001, attacks, which claimed 2988 lives,1 occurring every 1.5 days, or 15 Airbus 320 jetliners,2 each carrying 150 passengers, crashing every day.
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Published Online: December 17, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.24865
Correction: This article was corrected online December 28, 2020, to change the percentage of excess deaths to 50%.
Corresponding Author: Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, Center on Society and Health, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, 830 E Main St, Ste 5035, Richmond, VA 23298 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Funding/Support: Drs Woolf and Chapman received partial funding from grant UL1TR002649 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences had no role in preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
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