Deadliest days in american history: When you think of the worst day in the history of the United States, your thoughts are likely to turn to a terrorist attacks on Sept 11, the devastation that followed Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, or possibly a fight from the American Civil War. Perhaps you recall the events of more recent days, such as the COVID-19 epidemic.
It turns out that the answer to the issue of which day was the deadliest is not as simple as it appears. However, when the death rate is taken into consideration, it seems likely that none of the incidents listed above occurred.
To put contemporary deaths in the United States into perspective, according to J. David Hacker, a demographic history professor at the University of Minnesota, approximately 7,700 people have died every day in the United States before COVID-19 began circulating in late 2019. These deaths occurred for a variety of reasons, including car accidents and heart disease.
The Deadliest Days In American History According To Hacker
According to Hacker, determining the deadliest days in American history is difficult because, for one thing, the country’s population has expanded significantly between 1790, when it had only 4 million people, to more than 332 million people now. As a result, comparing the absolute number of deaths from the past with the present is analogous to comparing apples and oranges.
“Of course, there are more overall deaths in a typical day today than in 1790, despite the fact that death rate — the number of deaths multiplied by the population — was unquestionably greater in 1790,” Hacker explained to Live Science in an interview. However, even if we accept that comparing mortality rates across centuries is the most accurate method of comparison, determining the “deadliest day” question is still more difficult than you might expect.
Deadliest days in american history: In his opinion, “the deadliest day comparison I’ve seen is based on a variety of criteria,” Hacker said. If we’re looking at a specific attack or incident, do we ignore the people who died on the same day but for reasons other than the one we’re looking at? Do we leave them out, or do we include them? There isn’t much agreement among historians, and on top of all that, death records from 1776 to the present day aren’t available everywhere in the country, according to Hacker.
Having said that, we can make a couple of educated assumptions. In terms of the total number of deaths in one day caused by a specific storm on a given day, Hacker believes that nothing comes even close to the Galveston Hurricane on Sept. 8, 1900. It is also known as “The Great Storm of 1900,” and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it was the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States. The hurricane struck Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with winds ranging from 130 to 156 mph (209 to 251 km/h), and it is also known as “The Great Storm of 1900.” (NOAA). According to a 2011 assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, between 8,000 and 12,000 people died as a result of the hurricane. According to Hacker, over 3,500 people perished every day on average back in 1900, making the storm a particularly lethal occurrence.
The American Civil War
Meanwhile, the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, was a particularly brutal period. According to a 2011 research published in the journal Civil War History, it is believed that 750,000 troops died as a result of injuries or sickness during the Civil War. Consequently, it’s not unexpected that the 1862 Battle of Antietam, which prevented the Confederate invasion of Maryland and resulted in an estimated 3,650 soldiers slain on both sides, is another event worth mentioning.
However, once again, we are confronted with data problems: not everyone who died while fighting in the war did so the day of the battle itself. “Men who were wounded in the one-day conflict may have struggled for weeks or months before succumbing to their wounds, and they are unlikely to be included in the estimate,” Hacker explained. “Counting Civil War dead is not a precise science,” says the author.
Hacker believes that approximately 2,500 other persons perished in the United States the same day as the Battle of Antietam owing to other (non-war-related) causes the same day as the battle. That means that battle dead more than doubled the overall death rate for the day, making it a particularly lethal day by any standard of measurement. The Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 resulted in a larger death toll – more than 7,000 soldiers were killed — but that occurred over the course of three days, according to him.
Deadliest days in american history: Leaving aside the fighting, the Spanish flu was another extraordinarily terrible episode in history. “On average, almost 6,000 people perished from influenza each day throughout the month of October 1918.” “Hacker” stated. With better data from that time period, it might have been possible to conclude that the Spanish flu was responsible for the worst day in United States history, because some days were likely to have exceeded the 6,000-death mark.
In October 1918, according to Hacker, “if we knew the one-day peak number of influenza deaths, which we do not, and added that to the daily total of deaths from other causes,” “then maybe the deadliest day in United States history from all factors that cause or events was in October 1918.” However, because we do not have the facts to support this claim, it is still plausible that the Galveston Hurricane was a greater killer; in the end, it boils down to a matter of opinion rather than a matter of unassailable factual evidence.
What is the status of COVID-19? During the worst days of the pandemic in February 2021, approximately 3,300 people died every day from the novel coronavirus, which is more than the close to 3,000 people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a field in Pennsylvania, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Deadliest days in american history: If we combine the COVID-19 statistic with the approximately 7,700 additional deaths that occur on average every day in the United States, we can estimate that approximately 11,000 people died every day in the United States during the worst days of February 2021. While not detracting since very real tragedy of COVID-19, the population in 1918 was one-third of what that is today, and as a result, Hacker ranks the Spanish flu above COVID-19, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have killed more people on its deadliest day in terms of absolute numbers.
When the death rate is taken into consideration, “for my money, one of those days in October 1918 was probably the deadliest day in the history of the United States,” he stated.