This file photo shows a hospital bed in one of the temporary rooms at the TCF Center, Monday, April 6, 2020, in Detroit. The city's convention center was converted to accommodate an overflow of patients with the coronavirus. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction at the TCF Center to create a quarantined hospital setting with 1,000 beds as the pandemic spread rapidly in the city. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
This file photo shows a hospital bed in one of the temporary rooms at the TCF Center, Monday, April 6, 2020, in Detroit. The city's convention center was converted to accommodate an overflow of patients with the coronavirus. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction at the TCF Center to create a quarantined hospital setting with 1,000 beds as the pandemic spread rapidly in the city. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

As the pandemic’s death clock rolls past the 1 million Americans mark, Michigan’s death toll is ninth-highest in the nation (36,098 by deadline today). That’s the equivalent of 12 September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Over the past week, new cases of COVID-19 in Michigan have increased by 46%, and deaths are up 23%. Though we know home testing kits prevent an accurate count of positive cases, there’s still an average of 3,958 new cases a day being reported to Michigan health departments. Hospitalizations are spiking again.

When the pandemic began more than two years ago, few thought the US would reach this point. And yet, here we are: One million Americans have lost their lives to COVID.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff, and acknowledged the unrelenting tragedy during a global COVID-19 virtual summit: “One million empty chairs around the family dinner table.”

“As we pass this grim milestone, it’s important to pause and consider what we’ve been through,” write the authors of a powerful Washington Post opinion piece: “And to remind ourselves that behind each number was a person — and that each of these people was someone’s friend, someone’s love, someone’s family.”