What began less than a year ago is about to pass a milestone that no one could have possibly imagined. On February 29, 2020, the United States recorded its first confirmed death from Covid-19. And here we are, almost a year later, about to pass 500,000 deaths.

The New York Times has produced a graphic that dramatically illustrates just how many Americans have been lost, and how rapidly the deaths have increased over the last twelve months.

To see Sunday’s front page in full detail, click here: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/02/21/nytfrontpage/scan.pdf

At such a tragic moment, there is also cause for hope. Cases are falling dramatically nationwide. CNN reports:

According to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the US is seeing a 29% decline in new Covid-19 cases compared to this time last week, the steepest one-week decline the country has seen during the pandemic. Improvements have been made; in a White House briefing Friday, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the US continues to see a five-week decline, with the seven-day average of cases declining 69% since peaking on January 11.

But is the drop real? CNN notes there is concern that winter weather has skewed data due to closed testing sites.