The nation’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic officially surpassed 150,000 on Wednesday as 18 states set single-day case records this week.
What We Know:
- In April, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading authority on infectious diseases said he believed, and hoped, that the coronavirus would claim no more than 60,000 lives in the country. A few weeks later, a revered research center predicted that number would be just over 70,000 deaths by August. After a surge in the death toll in May, President Trump believed no more than 100,000 Americans would die. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, the death toll in the United States reached 150,000, making it the highest in the world.
- Virginia Pitzer, a professor of epidemiology at Yale, said it’s impossible to predict human behavior therefore impossible to predict the scope of the pandemic. “To what extent are people going to socially distance themselves? To what extent are politics going to influence whether you wear a mask?” Pitzer questioned. “All of these factors are impossible to factor in.”
- As of Wednesday evening, 150,909 people are known to have died from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with more than 4.4 million reported infections. Experts believe that these figures may even be undercounted as it probably doesn’t include people who died early in the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that 2 to 13 times more people could be infected than the tallies of reported cases show.
- In mid-April, the United States hit its peak in weekly averages of reported deaths, mostly due to the enormous surge in New York State. But that weekly average began to climb again this month, with the nation now reporting 1,000 deaths a day.
- Texas has become the state with the highest death toll relative to its population with nearly 2,200 deaths reported this week. 18 states have set daily case records over the past week and 40 states have increased cases per capita in the last 2 weeks. The 18 states which contributed heavily to the rising death tolls and reported cases this week are California, South Carolina, North Dakota, Kentucky, Hawaii, Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia.
- Although it’s unclear what percentage of people who get the virus die from it, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said last month that it was likely to be about 0.6 percent. Dr. Sarah Fortune, the chair of immunology and infectious diseases at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard said that the death toll goes hand-in-hand with our precautions, or lack thereof, of transmission, especially keeping the virus from individuals at high-risk or in high-risk environments like nursing homes. “We have to do better in terms of limiting transmission,” Fortune stated. “We have this terrible death toll because we have done a lousy job at limiting transmission.”
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now projects around 220,000 deaths by November.