Experts predict that the death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. could reach up to 200,000 in spite of strict social distancing guidelines by the Trump administration. There are 174,951 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 3,408 deaths as of Tuesday, according to Worldometer.
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told NBC News on Monday that 100,000 to 200,000 deaths could happen in the nation even if all Americans “do things almost perfectly” and that U.S. deaths could range from 1.6 million to 2.2 million if the country did nothing to contain the outbreak. According to a University of Washington study, which affected Birx’s prediction, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. will peak on April 15 with the daily death toll is predicted to rise to 2,271. Even if the number of new cases slows down, the death toll from the virus could range from as low as around 82,141 to up to 162,000 on Aug. 4.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), anticipated that there will be a second coronavirus wave in the fall. U.S. President Donald Trump said the administration is prepared for the likelihood of a second outbreak after the summer.
Currently, 24 out of 50 states in the U.S. have over 1,000 coronavirus patients. In particular, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have over 85,000 coronavirus patients in total, taking up half of the coronavirus cases in the U.S. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the hardest hit New York held a press conference on Monday after the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, and plead to medical workers across the country for help. “That’s a lot of tears. That’s a lot of grief that people all across this state are feeling,” said Cuomo. “Please come help us in New York right now.” The governor added that up to 1 million more workers are needed. The state is currently not capable of handling rapidly increasing number of patients with its 80,000 health care professionals.
The Food and Drug Administration changed its emergency use authorization for a process that would decontaminate N95 masks and granted approval for 15-minute COVID-19 test. Ford and GE Healthcare announced a plan to produce 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days.
States expanded social distancing guidelines. Maryland and Virginia, which are located near Washington D.C., enacted “stay-at-home” mandates. Anyone who violates the mandate could face up to 90 days in jail and a 5,000-dollar fine. Now a total of 28 states have enacted stay-at-home orders, putting 3/4 of 330 million Americans under lockdowns. Governors of the remaining 22 states are also under the pressure to enact similar orders, Politico reported.
The Washington Post cited a study by the University of Chicago that said social distancing has the potential to save over a million lives and yields 8 trillion dollars in economic benefits. It added that moving away from social distancing has not only substantial health costs but economic costs as well.