Coronavirus pandemic: Upto 200,000 Americans could die and millions could be infected, warns Anthony Fauci
The US is now leading the world in the number of confirmed cases. As of March 29, the new coronavirus has sickened more than 142,004 people and killed 2,489 people
The coronavirus death toll in the US currently stands at 2,489. But this might shoot up to 200,000, warns a top White House health adviser, adding that millions of Americans could catch the infection.
“I mean, looking at what we are seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 … deaths. But I don't want to be held to that,” Dr Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s State of the Union.
He, however, added that the estimate should be taken with a pinch of salt. “I just don’t think that we need to project when it’s such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people," he added.
The estimate is based on models that help scientists predict or visualize the future. Scientists feed models with various assumptions and its accuracy, in turn, depends on assumptions, he explained. "Whenever the models come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario. Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I've never seen a model of the diseases that I've dealt with where the worst case came out. They always overshoot," Dr Fauci told CNN.
The US is now leading the world in the number of confirmed cases. As of March 29, the new coronavirus has sickened more than 142,004 people and killed 2,489 people. So far, only 4,767 have recovered. Globally, the virus has infected 722,289 people and killed 33,984.
Another preprint study estimated that the disease could kill between 38,242 and 162,106 people. "The figure shows that uncertainty widens markedly as the peak of the epidemic approaches, given that the exact timing of the peak is uncertain," write the authors of the study.
Trump cited this model to extend social distancing guidelines until April 30. "The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks," he said during a press briefing, "Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period, it is very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines," he added.
Earlier, Trump and health experts were locked in a battle over social distancing measures, with Trump hoping to lift them before Easter. His statements were largely criticized by health experts.
An expert from John Hopkins warned that if Trump lifts restrictions put in place to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, millions could die, "Anyone advising the end of social distancing now needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. COVID would spread widely, rapidly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country," Dr Tom Inglesby, Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tweeted.
On Saturday, March 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had issued an advisory in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, urging residents to "refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately."
“We had very intensive discussions last night at the White House with the president,” Fauci told CNN. “As you know, the original proposal was to consider seriously an enforceable quarantine. After discussions with the president, we made it clear, and he agreed, that it would be much better to do what’s called a strong advisory," he said.
“And the reason for that is that you don’t want to get to the point where you’re … enforcing things that would create a bigger difficulty, morale and otherwise, when you could probably accomplish the same goal," he added.