Mon May 11, 2020 12:46
Health Experts Expect Increase in COVID-19 Cases in US States Easing Lockdown as Death Toll Nears 80,000
TEHRAN (FNA)- Health experts warned over surge in the number of COVID-19 patients in the United States in the coming days and weeks as multiple states have moved to reopen portions of their economy shuttered by stay-at-home orders imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The director of the Institute for Health Metrics at the University of Washington said Sunday that he expects the number of coronavirus cases will rise in the next 10 days in states lifting stay-at-home restrictions sparked by the virus pandemic. 

Christopher Murray stated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that social distancing was shown to help stop the spread of COVID-19 transmission. 

“Now that we're coming out, the big question mark is will people’s own behavior — acting responsibly, wearing a mask, avoiding coming into physical close contact — will that be enough to counteract the effects of rising mobility?” he asked, adding, “And so we really are going to have to wait and see,  our suspicion is there will be about 10 days from now in these places that have had these big increases in mobility we are expecting to see a jump in cases.” 

“We may see quite a lot of states tipping toward increasing cases in the next two weeks,” he warned.

Also on Sunday, Columbia University infectious diseases expert Jeffrey Shaman predicted that the US will see a growth in coronavirus cases in coming weeks as some states loosen restrictions.

Shaman said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that US administration officials have not taken full advantage of the past eight weeks of near-total lockdowns, adding that the period would have “benefitted enormously from consistent messaging” from the White House. 

“What I think we’re probably going to see over coming weeks, probably towards the end of the month, is we’re just going to start to see a growth in cases,” he stated.

“It’s not going to happen over the next week or two, it’s going to come in with a lag. That built-in delay means any changes we do to social distancing because of reopening, we’re not going to realize for a couple of weeks that we’re already into some period of growth,” he noted.

As the US tops the list of the coronavirus affected nations worldwide, the number of COVID-19 cases across the country exceeded 1,329,800 on Monday. At least 79,500 people succumbed to the fatal virus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Concerns over the real death toll being possibly much higher than the official US government numbers have also been recently voiced in mainstream media like The Washington Post and The New York Times.

A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts nearly 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, almost double previous projections, as social-distancing measures for quelling the virus pandemic are increasingly relaxed, researchers warned.

The new forecast from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reflect "rising mobility in most US states" with an easing of business closures and stay-at-home orders expected in 31 states within days, according to the institute.

Researchers had projected that the US may have to endure social distancing measures --- such as stay-at-home orders and school closures --- until 2022. It is, unless, a vaccine becomes quickly available, according to researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who published their findings in the journal Science. The findings directly contradict research being touted by the White House that suggests the pandemic may stop this summer.

The New York Times has also reported that the dministration of President Donald Trump is projecting that the rate of US deaths from the novel coronavirus will rise by almost one third to 3,000 per day by the beginning of June with 200,000 new cases per day occurring.

Trump was repeatedly warned about the dangers of the novel coronavirus in intelligence briefings in January and February, according to a report by The Washington Post. The warnings --- more than a dozen included in classified briefings known as the American president's Daily Brief --- came during a time Trump was mostly downplaying the threat of a COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States is currently the nation hardest hit by the coronavirus, with the number of cases and deaths exceeding other nations by a very wide margin. The virus pandemic has had a profound impact on the US economy, which experienced its sharpest decline in over a decade in the first three months of 2020. The total number of first-time filings for unemployment insurance has climbed to over 33.0 million over the past seven weeks of the forced lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The White House had projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the United State from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. They suggest if no social distancing measures had been put in place across the country between 1.5 million to 2.2 million people would have died.

Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has topped 282,700, on Monday, with more than 1,103,000 people infected worldwide, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.






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