Coronavirus may claim 80,000 in US

Infections surpass China, Italy

New Age Online. British Broadcasting Media/ Agence France-Presse | Published: 09:52, Mar 27,2020 | Updated: 09:57, Mar 27,2020

 
 

COVID-19 could lead to more than 80,000 deaths in the US and overwhelm hospital capacity nationally in early April, predicted the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

The United States now has more than 85,500 positive tests for the novel coronavirus infections that surpass China and Italy.

According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China— 81,782 cases and Italy—  80,589 cases.

But with almost 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China— 3,291 and Italy—  8,215.

The grim milestone came as president Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work ‘pretty quickly’.

Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, Donald Trump said it was ‘a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing’.

Vice-president Mike Pence said coronavirus tests were now available in all 50 states and more than 552,000 tests had been conducted nationwide.

President Trump has set a much-criticised goal of Easter Sunday, April 12, for reopening the country. That plan seemed to gather impetus on Thursday as it emerged an unprecedented 3.3 million Americans have been laid off because of the virus, reports BBC.

Agence France-Presse reports that COVID-19 could lead to more than 80,000 deaths in the US and overwhelm hospital capacity nationally as soon as early April even if social distancing measures are respected, new research showed Thursday.

Forecasters at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine analysed the latest COVID-19 data at local, national and international level.

These include hospitalisation and mortality rates, as well as patient date in terms of age, gender and pre-existing health problems.

Specifically, they looked at the time lag between the first fatal cases and public interventions such as shuttering schools and businesses. They then looked at each American state’s ICU bed and ventilator capacity.

The analysis warned that based on current trends, demand for both would far exceed capacity for COVID-19 patients as early as the second week of April.

During the epidemic peak — also set for some point in April — as many as 2,300 patients could die every day, according to the IHME models.

This was the case even if the population adhered to strict social distancing measures.

‘Our estimated trajectory of COVID-19 deaths assumes continued and uninterrupted vigilance by the general public, hospital workers, and government agencies,’ said Christopher Murray, IHME director.

‘The trajectory of the pandemic will change — and dramatically for the worse — if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions.’

The analysis estimated that approximately 81,000 people in the US will die from the virus over the coming four months.

Estimates ranged between 38,000 and more than 160,000. It forecast that a total of 41 US states will need more ICU beds than are currently available and that 12 states may need to increase their capacity by 50 per cent or more to accommodate patient needs.

The economic shutdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented 3.3 million people to file for unemployment benefits last week alone.

‘We hope these forecasts will help leaders of medical systems figure out innovative ways to deliver high-quality care to those who will need their services in the coming weeks,’ said Murray.

 

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