Covid-19 now kills more than 1 American every minute. And the rate continues to rise, while the death toll exceeds 300,000

But this holiday season was especially brutal with more than 50,000 deaths in the past month, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the past week, on average 2,403 people in the United States die every day from Covid-19.

That’s an average of one Covid-19 death every 40 seconds.

“Every death of Covid is a terrible tragedy,” Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services, told CNN on Monday.

And the effects go beyond families directly affected by coronavirus.

“I lost my father in April. I couldn’t see him for the month and a half before. I’ve experienced the pain of individuals who can’t be with their relatives,” Azar said. “The pain and anxiety in our healthcare system in our country is real.”
Doctors say the death toll will pick up this winter as hospitalizations of Covid-19 reach unprecedented and unsustainable levels.

On Sunday, a record 109,331 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

And while widespread vaccination is on the horizon, it will be at least a few months before most Americans can get vaccinated.

Meanwhile Americans largely control how many families will lose loved ones during the holidays.

That depends on personal responsibility:

Wear a mask whenever you surround someone who doesn’t live in your home (even if that’s in your own home).

If 95% of Americans were to wear masks permanently, it could save about 56,000 lives by April 1, according to the University of Washington Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Don’t rely on a negative test result to see friends and extended family.
And if you want to socialize without wearing a mask, create a strong bubble to keep everyone happy and healthy this winter.

Small sacrifices made now could prevent your family from losing the loved one.

CNN’s Brandon Miller contributed to this report.