There is indeed no doubt, since we know the virus was spreading stateside before it was officially diagnosed. That means that there were almost certainly deaths that occurred then and were mislabeled as pneumonia. Also, there have been reports of hospitals that were reluctant to test for COVID at the start of the pandemic because none of them wanted to be the first hospital in a given county with a confirmed case.
It’ll take years of careful analysis to fully realize the scope of the pandemic. And sadly even with the vaccine, the lingering effects of it will continue since many that survived didn’t recover fully. That’s why the healthcare costs of COVID over the next decade are estimated to be quite high. And while vaccinated people are mostly safe, we still have 30% of the country outright refusing to get it. That means the best we can hope for is 70% vaccinated, while herd immunity requires 80+%.
It’s very frustrating that the people shouting the most about masks and lockdowns are also opposed to the one thing with the potential to end both. If you want to get back to normal, please get vaccinated. I just got my 2nd Moderna on Wednesday, and while it was a bit uncomfortable the day after, it’s far superior to permanent lung damage (or death).