US coronavirus deaths could reach 170,000 by October with second wave expected to hit in September: Report

Deaths are predicted to remain fairly level through August and begin to rise again in the fourth week of August with a more pronounced increase during September, says University of Washington's Covid-19 model


                            US coronavirus deaths could reach 170,000 by October with second wave expected to hit in September: Report
(Getty Images)

A Covid-19 model, which is followed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is now forecasting 169,890 deaths in the US by October 1, with a possible range between 133,201 and 290,222. The projections made by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) suggests a second wave of Covid-19 beginning September 15 in the US. According to the analysis, deaths nationwide are predicted to remain fairly level through August and begin to rise again in the fourth week of August with a more pronounced increase during September. Some states will see the increase earlier due to increased mobility and relaxation of social distancing mandates, says the Covid-19 model.

The states with the earliest uptick in deaths are Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Colorado, according to current modeling. States with the highest numbers of deaths by October 1 include New York, New Jersey, California, and Michigan. “If the US is unable to check the growth in September, we could be facing worsening trends in October, November, and the following months if the pandemic, as we expect, follows pneumonia seasonality. We hope to see our model proven wrong by the swift actions governments and individuals take to reduce transmission,” says IHME Director Dr Christopher Murray. 

The model includes data through June 6. Large gatherings in some states due to the lifting of social distancing restrictions, gatherings on national holidays, and public protests are reflected in the general trend toward increased mobility. The model currently takes into account factors such as mobility data, testing, pneumonia seasonality, mask use, population density, air pollution, low altitude, annual pneumonia death rate, smoking, and self-reported contacts. Based on IHME’s analysis, mask use results in up to 50% reduction in transmission of the new coronavirus. Experts say that increasing travel in some states, as well as the overlap with the flu season, are likely to impact hospital demand for services in fall and winter. As of June 12, more than 2,023,380 coronavirus cases have been reported from across the US, and over 113,810 Americans have died.

States with the highest numbers of coronavirus deaths by October 1 include New York, New Jersey, California, and Michigan, says IHME. (Getty Images)

 

Additional 100,000 Americans will die by September, says expert

A Harvard health expert said he expects an additional 100,000 deaths in the US by September. Dr Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN that he expects the country to hit 200,000 deaths in September. The dire prediction exceeds the IHME model estimates.

“If you look at where we are as a country, between 800 and 1000 Americans are dying (from coronavirus) every day. Even if you took the low end of that (800), that’s 25,000 deaths a month. And over the next three months, that’s an additional 75,000. That’s by the time we get into early September. Unless we change course, even if we don’t have the increase in cases, even if we keep things flat, I think it is reasonable to expect that we are going to hit 200,000 deaths sometime during the month of September,” said Dr Jha. He added, “I think that is catastrophic, I think that is not something we have to be fated to live with. We can change course. We can change course today. But we have to make that decision to do it differently. Otherwise, that’s what we are looking at. And that’s just through September. The pandemic won’t be over in September. So, I'm really worried about where we're going to be in the weeks and months ahead.”

Dr Jha said that the US is the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting the cases as down low as it needed to. “We are also one of the few advanced countries that don't really have a robust testing and tracing infrastructure. Put all of that together, and we have made this whole situation far riskier. I have always argued we can open up safely and get our economy back. But we have to do it smartly, and we are just not doing it the way we need to,” he said. Dr Jha stressed that people should continue to maintain social distancing, wear masks, and to “put pressure” on the government to ramp up testing and contact tracing efforts. “That’s what both keep lives saved and lets the economy open up safely and I just can’t understand why the federal government hasn’t taken that on as a bigger priority. 



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