Why our minds can't make sense of COVID-19's enormous death toll

When the COVID-19 pandemic started nine months ago, the current reported death tolls were unthinkable. Yet this week, the fatality count has reached 200,000 people in the United States, and global deaths are approaching one million.

Although health officials say the real toll is likely much higher, due to a percentage of coronavirus deaths not being officially classified, the 200,000 statistic is a heartbreaking milestone. It’s a symbolic grim number that’s seared into the public’s consciousness and marks another alarming level of escalation in the pandemic.

Sarah Elizabeth Richards · National Geographic

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