COVID-19's toll 3 years in: 6 notes

March 11 marks three years since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. At that time, there were only 118,000 cases reported worldwide.

The virus has changed lives, economies, industries and more. In healthcare, the pandemic led to innovations that expanded access to care and created new care models. At the same time, it shed light on deep-rooted health inequities, worsened labor shortages, led to unprecedented strain on hospitals and healthcare workers, and led to new care demands from those who delayed care as well as those with long COVID-19. 

Here are some statistics for healthcare leaders to reflect on as the pandemic's crisis era recedes and the U.S. prepares for the end of the public health emergency: 

  1. Cases: As of March 7, the WHO has confirmed 759,408,703 total cases. Of those, 102,247,392 — or 13.5 percent — were in the U.S.

  2. Deaths: Since the pandemic's onset, there have been 6,866,434 deaths globally. The U.S. accounts for 16 percent of those deaths with a total of 1,111,342.

  3. Hospitalizations: Since tracking began in August 2020, the CDC reports 6,020,879 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in the U.S.

  4. Vaccinations: In the U.S., 230,142,115 people, or 69 percent of the U.S. population, have received the primary series of the vaccine. More than 53.9 million people, or about 16 percent of the U.S. population, have received the bivalent booster. Globally, more than 5 billion people have been fully vaccinated, according to the WHO's COVID-19 dashboard.

  5. Long COVID-19: The after-effects of a COVID-19 infection for some are debilitating. Researchers estimate about 10 percent of cases result in long COVID-19, and as many as 79 percent who experience the condition say it became a factor which limited them in their daily lives — sometimes significantly. To learn more about the mechanisms behind the condition and how it presents, studies will likely take place for many years. For now, researchers have zeroed in on seven key symptoms of the virus' long-term effects. It is estimated that 65 million worldwide have suffered from long COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

  6. Variants: The evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has given rise to five variants of concern throughout the pandemic: alpha, beta, delta, gamma and omicron. Omicron subvariant XBB 1.5 has become the dominant strain in the U.S.

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