A revised forecast model relied on by the White House is now projecting 147,000 Americans could die by August – an increase of 10,000 on projections from just two days ago – due to the easing of social distancing measures.
The latest forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reflects changes in testing and mobility and social distancing measures being lifted.
The institute’s director, Dr Christopher Murray, said on Tuesday that the US was ’speeding towards relaxing social distancing’ and leaving the country on an ‘unfortunate trajectory’ as the majority of states ease their stay-at-home orders.
Currently, more than 83,000 Americans have died and 1.4 million have become infected with coronavirus.
‘When we started off making projections, we had assumed that all the states were going to sort of follow the New Zealand model, which is to keep social distancing in place until transmission gets to a very low level,’ Dr Murray told CNN.
‘We’re not doing that. We’re speeding towards relaxing social distancing. People are getting the message, they’re getting out.’
Pictured: The IMHE death projections for the US, which have increased almost 10,000 in the space of two days
‘And I think we’ll see the numbers go up unless we see the benefits of people being cautious, wearing masks – and capacities to test, contact trace and isolate go up faster than we think they may.’
The findings also detailed the projected deaths from the hardest-hit states in the country.
New York is predicted to see 2,448 extra coronavirus fatalities due to events played out in the past two days, raising the tally to 34,068 from the May 10 estimate of 31,620.
In New Jersey, where people are still locked down on the state’s Stay at Home order, deaths are projected to reduce to 14,692 from 14,752, a decrease of 60 in comparison to two days ago.
Pennsylvania will see a sharp increase of 1,500 deaths from 10,742 to 12,420 while Massachusetts is set to clock in over 2,000, taking the projected number from 7,545 to 9,629.
Illinois will see an increase in 435 deaths, taking the forecast numbers from 7,395 to 7,830, according to the model.
Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, said the ‘consequences could be really serious’ if states ignored federal reopening guidelines and revoked their stay-at-home orders too quickly.
‘You will trigger an outbreak as you may not be able to control,’ he warned in his testimony before the Senate, adding ‘which in fact will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided but could even set you back and almost turned the clock back rather than going forward. That is my major concern.’
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also conceded the death rate is likely higher than the 80,000 reported.
But with his warning came words of hope as he said scientists aim to know if a successful coronavirus vaccine has been found by ‘late fall and early winter.
Fauci said scientists are already testing possible vaccines in a phase one clinical trial with an eye of going to phase two this summer.
‘If we are successful, we hope to know that in the late fall and early winter,’ he said.
He also said there were multiple vaccines being tested.
‘There are at least eight candidate COVID-19 vaccines in clinical development. The NIH has been collaborating with a number of pharmaceutical companies at various stages of development,’ Fauci noted.
He warned that with the testing could come negative consequences, including the death of patients.
‘I must warn that there is also the possibility of negative consequences where certain vaccines can actually enhance the negative effect of the infection,’ he said.
He also warned as states begin to reopen – thus pulling back on stay-at-home orders and social distancing – ‘you will see some cases reappear.’
‘There is no doubt even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear,’ Fauci warned, adding the U.S. must be prepared for ‘when the inevitable return of infections occurs.’
‘We will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,’ he noted.
Fauci warned the death rate was likely higher than that.
‘I think you are correct that the number is likely higher,’ he said in response to a question from Senator Bernie Sanders. ‘I don’t know exactly the percent higher but almost certainly its higher.’
He noted that, for example, people that died at home early on in the outbreak in places like New York weren’t counted as coronavirus victims.
Other experts have also warned that the true coronavirus death toll could be double the official figures due to delays and inconsistencies in reporting, testing shortages and the likelihood that thousands of people have avoided seeking treatment for life-threatening conditions.
Fears about an under-reported death toll come as many states expand efforts to ease lockdown restrictions that have crippled the US economy and left millions of Americans out of work
Many leading epidemiologists, regional officials and other experts have said that the current counts do not reflect the full devastation of the virus, in part because there is no national standard for investigating deaths.
Fears about an under-reported death toll come as many states expand efforts to ease lockdown restrictions that have crippled the US economy and left millions of Americans out of work.
President Donald Trump has championed the reopenings while many experts caution that they could be premature as the numbers of infections and deaths continue to rise in the majority of states.
Mark Hayward, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who advises the CDC on its mortality statistics, on Friday warned that it is very difficult to assess the ‘full mortality burden’ of COVID-19.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that scientists hope to know if a successful coronavirus vaccine has been found by ‘late fall and early winter’
He cited the time lag in cases being reported and emerging evidence which suggests that thousands of seriously ill people have failed to seek medical attention for life-threatening conditions such as heart failure, strokes or cancer because they feared coming in contact with COVID-19.
‘I think the undercount is enormous,’ Hayward told The Independent. ‘The overall burden of mortality from Covid, which covers all the causes that you talked about, could be enormously higher.’
He said the true number of deaths is likely double the current count – around 160,000.
Trump has yet to comment directly on deaths of people who avoided seeking treatment due to virus concerns, but White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany alluded to the issue at a briefing last week as she urged people who are ill to visit the doctor.
‘I’ve been disturbed to read many quotes from doctors, [and] stories of people who are staying home with chest pain and don’t go to the hospital when they could be on the verge of having a heart attack; who are missing on important appointments like mammograms, screenings like colonoscopies,’ McEnany said.
Meanwhile, leading task force member Dr Deborah Birx has boasted that the US has one of the most comprehensive reporting processes for COVID-19 deaths because officials include anyone who died after testing positive for the virus, even if it wasn’t the main cause.
America’s super hotspots: COVID-19 cases spike by 1,000% in a WEEK in Tennessee and Kansas counties, as infections rise across US, unreleased White House report reveals – despite Trump claiming they’re down
Tennessee and Kansas, both states that have eased lockdown restrictions, are home to counties where coronavirus infections have spiked by 1,000 percent in a week, an unreleased White House COVID-19 taskforce report shows.
The report indicates that cases are increasing in heartland pockets of the United States despite President Donald Trump‘s claim on Monday that infections are ‘coming down rapidly’ across the country.
The data in the report, which has not been released publicly but was obtained by NBC News, was included in a May 7 COVID-19 task force report compiled by its data and analytics team.
The data in the unreleased White House COVID-19 taskforce report includes a list of counties that have seen infections spikes in a week compared to the previous seven days. Data shows that Tennessee and Kansas are home to counties where coronavirus infections have spiked by 1,000 percent in a week
The emergence of the report comes as Dr Anthony Fauci warned Congress on Tuesday that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of COVID-19, which has so far killed more than 81,000 Americans and infected 1.3 million.
Included in the report is a list of counties that have seen infections spikes in a week compared to the previous seven days. The data is believed to stem from April 29 to May 6. Local health officials in most of those areas have already warned they are potential emerging hotspots due to the spike in confirmed cases.
Tennessee’s Trousdale County, which is just outside Nashville, saw the biggest spike with infections increasing by more than 1,000 percent, the report shows.
The huge increase is due to an outbreak at the privately run Trousdale Turner Correctional Center where nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 staffers recently tested positive.
Tennessee currently has more than 15,500 cases and over 250 deaths.
Leavenworth County in Kansas, which is just west of Kansas City, has also seen its infections increase by 1,000 percent over a week with 587 new cases reported.
Health officials there have reported two clusters of cases – one at the Lansing Correctional Facility and another at the state-run Grossman Residential Reentry Center.
Kansas currently has just over 7,000 cases and 180 deaths.
This map showing the weekly change in deaths by county shows fatalities appear to be increasing in states like Texas, while decreasing or not changing at all in states like California. The pink shaded areas indicate increased deaths while the green shaded areas show fewer deaths in the week
Included in the report is this map, broken down into counties, that show the weekly change in new cases compared to the previous seven days. The pink shaded areas indicate increased cases while the green shaded areas show fewer cases in the week
This map shows the doubling time of infections for counties with at least 10 cases. Infection in states like Minnesota are increasing more rapidly by doubling in just a few days compared to states like Montana or Hawaii where it can take more than a month to double cases
Wisconsin, which reported more than 2,300 new cases in a week, has seen a more than 100 percent spike in cases in both Racine and Kenosha counties.
The report indicates that Wisconsin’s southeastern region, which includes both counties, makes up 57 percent of the state’s facility-based outbreaks, including workplace and long-term care.
Missouri’s Buchanan County and Muhlenberg County in Kentucky have both seen a 600 percent spike in cases in a week, according to the report.
Nebraska’s Colfax County, just outside Omaha, recorded a 500 percent increase in infections in a week, while Stearns County in Minnesota saw about a 400 percent jump.
Iowa’s Polk County and Georgia’s Hall County both saw spikes of more than 100 percent.
Rising cases in these small emerging hotspots come as infections across the US surpassed 1.3 million with more than 81,000 deaths.
The majority of states across the US have now started to gradually reopen with Trump pushing for people to get back to work and to reopen the economy.
The report also pinpoints counties that are considered locations to watch based on the increase of week-to-week cases but that don’t have has many new infections per 100,000 in a week.
In Texas, Dallas County reported an increase in cases in a week with 82 percent assumed to be from community transmissions in cities including Dallas, Garland and Irving.
That county allowed restaurant, retail stores, movie theaters and museums to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
That data also shows that Ramsey County in Minnesota, which includes the city of St Paul, has seen cases increase by 186 percent in a week.
Missouri’s Jackson County, which encompasses Kansas City, has seen cases spike 142 percent in a week.
Nebraska’s second most populous county, Lancaster, has recorded a 131 percent spike in new cases.
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