#US could see 200,000 coronavirus deaths by September, experts say

#US could see 200,000 coronavirus deaths by September, experts say

June 11, 2020 | 9:07am

The US could see roughly 200,000 coronavirus deaths by September as states continue to loosen restrictions, a leading expert said as the nation surpassed 2 million confirmed cases this week.

Without drastic action, that death toll could double in a matter of months, Ashish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, told CNN. He cited the lack of a vaccine, more people congregating in public places and the recent racial justice protests across the nation.

“I think right now, most Americans are not ready to lock back down, and I completely understand that,” Jha told the network. “I understand people are willing to live alongside this virus. It means that between 800 and 1,000 Americans are going to die every single day.”

“We’re going to get another 100,000 deaths by September,” he added. “So, that’s a catastrophic cost. We really do have to try to figure out how to bring the caseloads down from these scary levels.”

By early Thursday, the US tallied 2,000,464 coronavirus cases and 112,924 deaths, Johns Hopkins University statistics show.

As multiple states have loosened restrictions placed in March to combat the spread of the virus, Jha said that the US was the only major country to reopen without getting its case growth to a controlled level — meaning that the rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 remains at 5 percent or lower for at least two weeks.

The spike in deaths, he said, is not “something we have to be fated with,” and measures including more testing and contact tracing, strict social distancing and widespread use of masks could keep those numbers lower.

A model cited by the White House indicates that the US coronavirus death toll could reach 169,890 by October 1, with a possible range between 133,000 and 290,000 deaths.

The model predicts that daily deaths would decrease through June and July, remain relatively stable through August and then spike in September.

“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,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told CNN.

With Post wires


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