Nearly three million people around the world will “most likely” die of COVID-19 by the end of the year unless governments tighten social distancing requirements and people are not more vigilant about wearing masks, a research outfit that Trump officials are focusing on. Administration once left is warning.
The US death toll, currently around 188,000, could more than double to over 400,000 by Jan. 1, the Institute of Health Metrics and Assessment (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine predicts.
And that is not even the worst-case scenario that IHME outlined in its sobering report. In this model, four million people would die worldwide and over 620,000 people would die of COVID-19 in the US, the researchers concluded.
In the “best case” scenario, two million people worldwide will be dead by the end of the year, and there will be 257,286 to 327,775 deaths from COVID-19 in the US
“We face the prospect of a fatal December, especially in Europe, Central Asia and the United States,” warned IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “But the science is clear and the evidence is irrefutable: wearing masks, social distancing and social gathering limits are critical to preventing the virus from spreading.”
Partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IHME was criticized in the early days of the pandemic for making optimistic predictions about the progress of the pandemic, which President Donald Trump and his team touted as evidence that the US was COVID- 19 would bring under control – and what turned out to be wrong.
Currently, the “most likely” scenario is that 2.8 million people will die if “the use of custom masks and other mitigation measures remain unchanged,” said Murray’s team.
In each of the IMHE models, India and the United States are the most likely to lose the most people.
Currently, the United States has reported more than 188,000 deaths from nearly 6.2 million confirmed cases – both world-leading figures, the latest figures from NBC News show.
The United States now accounts for nearly a quarter of the more than 26 million cases and about a fifth of the nearly 870,000 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.
Brazil follows with 124,614 deaths, followed by India with 68,472 deaths on the dashboard.
Murray admitted in the IHME publication that their scenarios “represent a significant increase from the current total deaths, which are estimated at nearly 910,000 worldwide”. But he said the pandemic “follows seasonal patterns similar to pneumonia, which means countries in the northern hemisphere are likely to get their socks on again when the weather gets colder.
“People in the northern hemisphere need to be extra vigilant as winter approaches, as coronavirus, like pneumonia, is more common in cold climates,” Murray said.
In July, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said the pandemic was not seasonal, but “a big wave”.
“This virus likes any weather,” said Dr. Margaret Harris.
In other COVID-19 developments:
The U.S. economy created 1.4 million jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent – below 10 percent for the first time since the pandemic began. “Great job numbers!” Trump boasted in a tweet. Economists were far less impressed, NBC News reported. “We have gained three big months of jobs but have regained less than half the losses in March and April so far,” said Dan North, senior economist at Euler Hermes North America. “So far, job gains have been probably the easiest of reopening a business and bringing its people back.”
The FBI and state investigators ransacked a Pennsylvania nursing home Thursday where hundreds of residents and employees tested positive for coronavirus and dozen have died. The Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. The hotel, located northeast of Pittsburgh, had been flagged for dangerous conditions before the pandemic, NBC News reported in April.
- Florida has banned local health officials from posting detailed information about new COVID-19 cases in public schools, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The newspaper discovered this when it questioned the Orange County State Health Commissioner about the “first potential student-to-teacher transmission” case. “As this is confidential information, I cannot pass this data on to the public in this format.” Dr. Raul Pino said. An Orange County public schools spokesperson said they would continue to provide general information about pandemics to the public. Schools recently reopened amid objections from teachers claiming they were forced to work in unsafe conditions and as the state continues to throw up thousands of new cases every day. The Florida Department of Health has been charged with censoring the data to make the state’s numbers less horrific and to crowd out a whistleblower. The agency has rejected the allegation.