Daily COVID-19 deaths in December are listed on a trending social media graphic showing the 10 deadliest days in U.S. history. Is this accurate?
We ran the meme through the Trust Index determined: Be careful.
Recent daily COVID-19 death totals are among the worst in U.S. history, but the graphic leaves out other terrible days, including the entire Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. It also leaves out hurricanes, an earthquake, the Jonestown flood, and D-Day during WWII, and doesn’t mention that an average of 8,000 Americans die every day from a variety of “natural” causes.
The Galveston hurricane in 1900 is listed on the graphic as the worst day in U.S. history with 8,000 deaths, though estimates range from 6,000 to 12,000. It’s considered the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Second on the meme is the Battle of Antietam, when an estimated 3,650 soldiers were killed. This is accurate, according to the national battlefield’s historic site. The gruesome fight between the North and the South resulted in 23,000 casualties, including 2,100 Union soldiers and 1,550 Confederate soldiers. But the battle is not the second-deadliest day in U.S. history.
The 1918 Spanish Flu killed an estimated 195,000 Americans in October 2018, which averages out to 6,290 deaths per day throughout the month. In terms of the list, the “Mother of all Pandemics” would account for spots 2-32 -- and possibly No. 1, though we couldn’t find daily death totals.
Leaving out the 1918 pandemic, the reported 3,411 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. on Dec. 9 come next on the list, ahead of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the D-Day invasion, and the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The meme shows daily COVID-19 fatalities for several days in early December rival these historic tragedies. While not in the Top 8, as suggested, the rising death totals from the current pandemic are among the Top 50 deadliest days in U.S. history -- with little end in sight.
Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said Friday the daily COVID-19 death total likely will exceed Sept. 11, 2001, or Pearl Harbor deaths for the next 60-90 days.