US Covid-19 death toll nears 200,000 mark, experts predict spike in infections in December: 'Winter is coming'
President Donald Trump said this number would mean that 'we all together have done a very good job.' However, experts have disagreed
In June, the Covid-19 death toll in the US shot past 120,000, exceeding the number of American lives lost during World War I. In just about two months, the fatalities rose to nearly 200,000 — a number predicted by the White House in March.
During that press conference, President Donald Trump said this number would mean that "we all together have done a very good job." However, experts have disagreed. Dr Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told NBC News: "Tens of thousands of people would not have died if the US response had been more effective."
According to Johns Hopkins University, the new coronavirus has infected more than 6.7 million people and killed more than 199,000 people in the US. New York, New Jersey and Texas have registered the highest number of fatalities. Data from the CDC indicates that between March 15 to August 29, 2020, the US witnessed over 200,000 more deaths than previous years.
The cases registered in the US continue to grow. According to an Ipsos poll, 59% of Americans claimed they knew someone with the disease, and 23% said they knew someone who died of the infection. Just over half of the people trust the FDA, half trust state or local governments, and less than half trust pharmaceutical companies or the federal government, the survey showed.
Further, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington predicted a spike in infections in the winter, which could result in 378,321 deaths by January 1. Experts also forecasted that nearly 770,000 lives across the globe could be saved by January 1 if individuals adopt control measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing.
The most likely scenario, according to them, is 2.8 million fatalities. Their predictions suggest that the US Virgin Islands, the Netherlands, and Spain could see the highest per capita total deaths. "These first-ever worldwide projections by country offer a daunting forecast as well as a roadmap toward relief from Covid-19 that government leaders, as well as individuals, can follow," said IHME Director Dr Christopher Murray.
"We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing and limits to social gatherings are vital to help prevent transmission of the virus," he said.
"People in the Northern Hemisphere must be especially vigilant as winter approaches, since the coronavirus, like pneumonia, will be more prevalent in cold climates," Murray said. "Looking at the staggering Covid-19 estimates, it’s easy to get lost in the enormity of the numbers. The number of deaths exceeds the capacity of the world’s 50 largest stadiums, a sobering image of the people who have lost their lives and livelihoods," he added.
"There's winter coming, and there might be another wave of transmission ahead, so we still need to have a plan to deal with that," Sen Pei, an associate research scientist at Columbia University, who has done extensive Covid-19 modeling work, told NBC News.