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A November 2020 memorial in Washington, D.C. consisted of thousands of flags, each planted to remember someone who died of COVID-19. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

578,555 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, or maybe it’s 912,345 – here’s why it’s hard to count

Record-keepers have a pretty good sense of how many people have died. But figuring out the cause of those deaths is a lot trickier – and that’s why reasonable modelers can disagree.
A girl views the body of her father, who died of COVID-19, while mourners who can’t visit in person are onscreen. Joe Raedle/Getty Images News via Getty Images

279,700 extra deaths in the US so far in this pandemic year

Health statisticians keep careful tabs on how many people die every week. Based on what’s happened in past years, they know what to expect – but 2020 death counts are surging beyond predictions.

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