The COVID-19 death toll is on the verge of surpassing the number of Americans killed during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
As of Monday morning, a total of 673,768 people in the U.S. have died from Covid-related causes, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
That's about 1,000 short of the estimated 675,000 fatalities attributed to the Spanish flu more than a century ago.
However, experts say there are many differences between the two pandemics that the raw numbers don't account for.
This includes the fact the the death rate was higher during the 1918 pandemic and that black Americans who died from Spanish flu were severely undercounted.
A total of 673,768 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, which is nearing the 675,000 Americans estimated to have died from Spanish flu during the 1918 pandemic
However, the death rate was much larger in 1918 because the total U.S. population was smaller, with 642 Spanish flu deaths per 100,000 people compared to 204 Covid deaths per 100,000 Americans. Pictured: A nurse takes the pulse of a patient in the influenza ward of Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, November 1918
The 1918 flu pandemic, known colloquially as the Spanish flu, lasted between January 1918 and December 1920.
Although historians are not actually sure where, geographically, it began, it is known that the pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus that spread from birds to humans.
It infected 500 million worldwide and caused between 50 and 100 million deaths - between three and five percent of the world's population.
In the U.S. alone, close to 28 percent of the general population became infected an approximate 675,000 people died.
However, there are clear differences between the 1918 pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time that the Spanish flu was circulating, the total U.S. population stood at about 105 million compared to 330 million in 2021.
This means that fatalities during the 1918 pandemic accounted for 642 deaths per 100,000 people.
Comparatively, deaths attributed to COVID-19 sit at a rate of about 204 deaths per 100,000 Americans.
If Covid deaths were occurring at the same rate as deaths form the Spanish flu, the death toll would be more than two million.
What's more, the Spanish flu pandemic death toll is believed to be an undercount because it was not representative of the U.S. population.
Only about 31 states were examine in 1918-19 Mortality Statistics,