On February 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the first person in the United States had died from COVID-19 — a man in his fifties living in Washington state.
Since then, close to 28 million Americans have been infected with the novel (new) coronavirus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly half a million have died, more than in any other country in the world.
The year has been one of unspeakable tragedy, but also hope with the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines. The development of these highly effective vaccines is “a great scientific tour de force,” according to Thomas Russo, MD, chief of infectious disease at the University of Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in New York.
Here’s a look back at the most significant U.S. milestones in the pandemic’s first year, where we stand now, and the challenges ahead.