As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Americans are wondering if the illnesses they had earlier this year were really the result of the new coronavirus.
The United States has overtaken Italy to become the country with the most coronavirus deaths. However, as a proportion of the total population in the United States, deaths from the virus remain about one-sixth of those in Italy or Spain hard hit.
In the United States, more than 19,700 people died from complications from the coronavirus on Saturday afternoon, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University dashboard. On Friday, the United States had its highest number of daily deaths, at 2,108.
The death toll in Italy was 19,468 and Spain, the country with the third highest number of deaths, recorded 16,353 deaths. Worldwide, the number of deaths has exceeded 104,000.
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Estimates of the number of people who will eventually die in the United States have fluctuated in recent weeks as new data continues to pour in.
A leading University of Washington projection model has predicted around 60,000 deaths in the country, far less than the 100,000 to 240,000 deaths predicted in a White House statement less than two weeks ago.
“The real data tells us that it is very likely that we will have a definite positive effect with these mitigation measures that we do – this physical separation – so I think we will see a slowdown in that”, Dr. Anthony Fauci , the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s “Today” program on April 9.
“And that’s more like 60,000 than 100,000 to 200,000.”
Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House task force said on Friday that the United States was beginning to see its curve stabilize, but warned that we had not reached the worst of the epidemic – despite the model of the University of Washington projecting Friday as the peak of daily deaths.
Flattening of the curve in Italy
While Italy is far from out of the woods, the country’s daily increases in new cases have stabilized. Italy reported 4,204 new cases and 610 deaths on Thursday, April 9, two figures comparable to the past few days.
Meanwhile, the United States reported 32,385 new cases and 1,783 the same day.
Gross totals are not the best measure due to huge population differences – Italy has about 60 million people, while the United States has more than 320 million. But the flattening of the Italian curve after spikes in the past month could provide an effective model for projecting the future spread of the virus in the United States.
Italy became the epicenter after the virus spread outside of China and the country’s hospitals – especially the northern regions – were quickly invaded. The country instituted a national lockdown on March 9 which has been extended until April 13 and is expected to be extended even further.
Birx said on Friday that the United States, for the first time, was starting to see its curve level, “as Italy did about a week ago.”
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What did previous American mortality estimates say?
Earlier in the week, the same model from the University of Washington predicted around 82,000 deaths, down from previous versions. The changes to the model reflect “a massive infusion of new data,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the school’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
On March 31, the White House released estimates that 240,000 Americans could die during the crisis.
And in mid-March, the worst-case scenario from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was about 160 million to 210 million Americans infected in December and an estimate that between 200,000 and 1.7 million people could die from here. the end of the year.
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Speaking to CNN, Professor Gregory Roth, a senior faculty member, explained that the models are constantly evolving.
“Changes in the model are driven by new data and improved methods, particularly around the estimation of forecast uncertainty,” said Roth. “As we receive more data on deaths from COVID-19, we expect our projections to adjust to follow these new trends. “
The most optimistic projections, however, are based on the assumption that Americans will continue to be vigilant about social estrangement.
“There is no question that social distance can, when properly implemented and maintained, control the epidemic, leading to lower death rates,” Murray told CNN.
Roth said: “We have not yet seen a relaxation of social distancing in any part of the United States. In the future, if social distancing were relaxed, we would fear a further increase in the number of cases. ”
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