This content was published on 07 August 2020 – 09:48
By Doina Chiacu and Rich McKay
WASHINGTON, Aug 6 (Reuters) – As of December 1, nearly 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19, University of Washington health experts predicted Thursday, though they said 70,000 lives could be saved if the population were rigorous. with the use of masks.
The latest forecasts from the university’s influential Institute for Health Metrics and Assessment (IHME) come at a time when top White House infectious disease advisers are warning that major US cities could have new outbreaks if the authorities do not exercise extreme vigilance.
“We are seeing a roller coaster ride in the United States. It seems that people are wearing a mask and distancing themselves more frequently as infections increase, and then, after a while, the population lets down its guard as infections decrease.” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the IHME, said in announcing the university’s revised forecast.
The number of deaths in the US from COVID-19 is over 159,000, the highest of any country in the world, with almost 4.9 million cases registered. (Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser to view an interactive Reuters chart)
The institute said infections were declining in the former epicenters of Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, but were increasing in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia. These conclusions coincide with Reuters figures.
The outbreak in the United States, which initially focused on New York – a high-density city – has since infected communities from coast to coast. Experts believe the spread has been driven in part by summer vacation travel.
“This bodes well for the problems ahead,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s highest infectious disease authority, told CNN.
Fauci made the remarks after White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx identified new geographic areas of concern on Wednesday.
White House data shows small increases in the percentage of positive tests in Chicago, Boston, Detroit, and Washington.
On the other hand, medical professionals have a better understanding of what they are treating, said Dr. Khalilah Gates, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Trump has urged state and local authorities to reopen public schools for face-to-face classes, and Fauci has said that children should return to class as soon as possible.
However, many school districts across the country, including two of the largest, Los Angeles and Chicago, have opted for online teaching.
In the rural Corinth school district in Mississippi, where schools opened two weeks ago, five coronavirus infections forced some students and teachers to be quarantined, superintendent Edward Lee Childress said in a Facebook post.
The decision to reopen the schools took into account the “inevitable moment” when the virus would be detected and contact tracking plans would be activated, Childress said.
“We are going to have more positive cases. We have it clear,” he said.
Although the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits decreased last week, the number of people receiving the subsidy reached 31.3 million in mid-July. A report was also released Thursday that shows a 54% increase in job cuts announced by companies in July.
The State Department released a March notice Thursday that said US citizens should avoid all international travel due to the pandemic. But the entry of American travelers remains restricted or prohibited in many parts of the world, including the European Union and Canada.
(Information from Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington, Barbara Goldberg and Maria Caspani in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta; written by Sonya Hepinstall and Dan Whitcomb; edited by Bill Berkrot, Bill Tarrant and Daniel Wallis, translated by Michael Susin in the Gdansk newsroom)