The United States now has more than 2 million Covid-19 infections with over 27,000 reported in the last 24 hours and a spike in hospitalisation has been reported from 12 states triggering fears of a second wave and, in a grim reminder that it is far from over yet, an expert has forecast 100,000 more fatalities by September.
More than 112,000 fatalities had been reported till Thursday morning, with 935 in the last 24 hours. Ashish Jha, a Harvard physician, has argued the United States could see around 25,000 deaths a months, with the average of around 800 a day, at the minimum, going up to 200,000 by mid-September.
“Even if we don’t have increasing cases, even if we keep things flat, it’s reasonable to expect that we’re going to hit 200,000 deaths sometime during the month of September,” Jha said. in an interview to CNN Wednesday. “And that’s just through September. The pandemic won’t be over in September.”
Ramped up testing, contact tracing, strict adherence to social distancing norms and widespread use of masks could help prevent spiraling fatalities, he has argued.
Anthony Fauci, the top US epidemiologist who has also said the epidemic is not done with the United States yet, told ABC Wednesday he is worried about the impact of ongoing protests and demonstrations. “Masks can help, but it’s masks plus physical separation and when you get congregations like we saw with the demonstrations, like we have said — myself and other health officials — that’s taking a risk,” he said., adding, “Unfortunately, what we’re seeing now is just an example of the kinds of things we were concerned about.”
Covid-19 hospitalizations — a number far more worrying than infections — have been spiking in 12 states (21 states have seen a surge in new infections) and there is talk already of a second wave hitting states after they reopened. Such as Florida, Arizona, and Texas.
Texas recorded a single-day high of more than 2,500 new cases and Florida logged a seven-day total of 8,553 cases, according to Bloomberg, which was told by Eric Tanner, a Johns Hopkins University scholar, “There is a new wave coming in parts of the country. t’s small and it’s distant so far, but it’s coming.”
Public health officials have been most worried about Arizona, where the number of new cases has doubled — up by 211% — over the past two weeks, the states health department has said. Its healthcare system, which is up to 83% occupancy, is in danger of being overwhelmed soon.
But the epidemic appears to have slipped off the radar of the president, the White House and US congress partly because of President Trump’s hurry to reopen the country, put businesses back at work and turnaround rising unemployment numbers (another 1.2 million filed for unemployment benefits last week) , which was has happened to an extent with hirings taking off. The other reason has been antiracism protests and unrest ripping through the country after the death of George Floyd, an African American man, under a knee of a white police officer, with three others holding him down.
President Trump has announced plans to return to the campaign trail with public rallies; some of them in states that are experiencing a spike in new infections: Florida, Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina. He starts on June 19 in Oklahoma, which is relatively safer, but Tulsa, where the rally is to take place, is in a county that has seen a modest rise.