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With 200,000 dead, it’s no time to fall into pandemic complacency | Editorial

This is not the time to think things have returned to normal.

The Civil War. The Spanish flu of 1918-19. World War II. And now, the coronavirus pandemic. These are the four deadliest events in American history, and nothing else comes close. Not World War I. Not Vietnam. Nothing. More than 200,000 Americans have already died, and the end is not in sight. The death toll could still double — or worse — which would make it deadlier for America than World War II.

American deaths from major events

1. 675,000 — 1918-19 flu pandemic

2. 620,000 — Civil War

3. 405,000 — World War II

4. 202,000 — 2020 pandemic (as of Thursday)

Yes, a vaccine will come. But in the meantime, don’t let up. Wear that mask, keep your distance, wash your hands and don’t be lulled into complacency. Think how much life has been altered in the generation since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which killed fewer than 3,000 people. For decades now, Americans have been reminded of 9/11 every time they fly and suffer inconvenience for the sake of security. Or when they go to renew their driver license and have to prove who they are. And think of all the money and time Floridians spend wisely preparing for hurricanes. Because of that, hurricanes kill very few of us. Against that, wearing a mask to protect lives doesn’t seem like a heavy burden.

Deaths in U.S. wars excluding the Civil War and World War II

1. 116,500 — World War I

2. 58,220 — Vietnam

3. 36,500 — Korea

Nearly 14,000 Floridians have died from the coronavirus, and 100 more are still succumbing each day. (Thursday’s number was 179.) By this point, most of us know someone who died or suffered from the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that COVID-19 cases are on the rise nationally. Treatments have improved tremendously, but the pandemic is far from over. Keep taking it seriously.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news