On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be a global pandemic (WHO 2020). Pandemic scenarios had been last war-gamed based on Obama-era preparedness in a version of the United States armed with the scientific and public health expertise to respond in concert with the WHO. What no one could predict, however, was a future United States where the independence of its CDC would become compromised (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/31/opinion/cdc-testing-coronavirus.html and  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31140-5). 

In less than a year, 350,000 Americans are now dead based on the U.S. policy of “herd immunity” and a White House hostile to mitigation, such as mask-wearing and social distancing (see: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02948-4).  We are now experiencing a daily death toll of over 3000 Americans – more than a daily “9/11”. Throughout 2020 thousands of U.S. experts and scholars were suffering from the “Cassandra Complex” – foretelling disaster when no one would listen or believe them. They were issuing warnings alongside images of mass rallies hosted by the U.S. President in several surge areas with few masks and no social distancing; these rallies were essentially biohazard events. Left impotent, local officials were trying to manage a pandemic that was completely out of control, while Americans with poor critical thinking skills easily believed coronavirus misinformation they heard from their own President (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-misinformation.html).

There is another term for what has happened in the United States: it’s called a holocaust. The term “holocaust” is defined by a mass death toll resulting from state-sponsored policies. 

            Americans were warned in the Spring that between 100,000-240,000 people in the U.S. would likely die even with strict mitigation efforts of shutdown to flatten the curve; without mitigation, the number would be over 1 million Americans dead (see: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf).

            There is no defined number of dead for the usage of the term “holocaust”. The Armenian holocaust is marked by 1.5 million dead; the Cambodian holocaust is marked by 2 million dead; the Rwandan holocaust is marked by at least half a million dead; and of course, the most infamous Third Reich-led Holocaust is marked by at least 6 million dead (this figure does not include non-Jews). To many, “holocaust” is synonymous with “genocide” but there need not be a defined goal of genocide for the term to be used correctly. Consider the term “nuclear holocaust”, which has not occurred since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which 150,000 died in Hiroshima, and 75,000 died in Nagasaki. More Americans are now dead than even from the last nuclear holocaust. 

            When the history of this American Holocaust is written, we will surely note the early federal response when the virus first surged (see: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/trumps-war-on-blue-states-is-worse-than-previously-thought.html).  We will also note that when the U.S. marked its first 76,000 deaths in May, almost 60% were African American due to health disparities and systemic racism; COVID deaths continue to be disproportionate in this population (see: https://www.apmresearchlab.org/covid/deaths-by-race).  Some are calling that genocide (see:http://opiniojuris.org/2020/05/15/trumps-coronavirus-response-genocide-by-default/). Ultimately, if American healthcare systems collapse from the viral load of COVID, it will result in untold numbers of deaths from non-COVID conditions, too. Alas, we may never know the true death toll in this American Holocaust.