Ten Numbers to Mark Three Years of COVID-19

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) first characterized COVID-19 as a “pandemic,” stating, “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” As we mark three years since then, here are 10 key data points that illuminate the challenges, and progress, made to date. All data provided are as of Feb. 28, 2023, unless otherwise noted.


The number of days elapsed between March 11, 2020, to March 11, 2023

March 11, 2023 marks 1,095 days since WHO first characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.  Even prior to that date, on January 30, 2020, the WHO had already declared COVID-19 to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC)  and the U.S. government declared COVID-19 to be a “Public Health Emergency” (PHE) on Jan. 31, 2020. The U.S. PHE has been renewed every 90 days since, although the Biden administration recently announced that the PHE will end on May 11, 2023.


Global number of COVID-19 deaths to date*

Since the pandemic began, there have been almost 7 million reported COVID-19 deaths worldwide. This is likely an underestimate, as many COVID deaths have gone unreported and uncounted. Estimates using excess death calculations place the true toll at closer to 15 to 20 million, or even more.


U.S. number of COVD-19 deaths to date

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1.1 million of all reported COVID-19 deaths have been in the United States.


Global number of COVID-19 cases to date

There have been more than three-quarters of a billion confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, likely a fraction of the true number of SARS-CoV-2 infections, the virus that causes COVID. An accurate and up-to-date picture of where and how much the virus is transmitting has been challenging given limited testing, imperfect surveillance and reporting systems, and other factors.


U.S. number of COVID-19 Cases to date

More than a hundred million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. to date.


Share of global population vaccinated against COVID-19

Overall, seven in 10 people worldwide have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 65% have been fully vaccinated. However, much smaller shares have received a booster shot. In low-income countries, fewer than three out of 10 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine.  More information on vaccine coverage is available here.


Share of U.S. population vaccinated against COVID-19

As of February 23, about 8 in 10 people in the U.S. have received at least one vaccine dose and 69.3% have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but the share who have received the updated booster, among those eligible, remains quite low, at just 17.2%.


Total number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

In the two years since COVID-19 vaccines have become widely available, over 671 million doses have been administered in the U.S., for a population that stands at approximately 330 million.


Number of vaccine doses delivered by the U.S. government for global use

In 2021, the U.S. government pledged to donate over 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries in need. As of February 2023, the U.S. had delivered over 680 million of these doses, and is the largest government donor to COVID-19 vaccination efforts.  The difference between total vaccines pledged and those delivered largely reflects increasing supply and falling demand for COVID-19 vaccinations globally.


Number of named variants of concern

SARS-CoV-2 evolves and changes as it spreads over time, which has sometimes given rise to new “variants of concern”, or genetic changes in the virus with potentially harmful implications for public health. Since the original version of the virus emerged, WHO has identified 5 different variants of concern: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron (the dominant global variant now in circulation).

*Case and death numbers used here are based on reports, and do not account for undercounts including in countries with very large populations, such as India and China.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.