The United States may see 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus at any given time in September, a leading expert said, while the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. was above 2 million on Wednesday as governments relax restrictions.
Ashish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, told CNN on Wednesday in an interview that the number of US deaths would increase without drastic measures.
“Even if we don’t have rising cases, even if we keep things flat, it is reasonable to expect to die 200,000 deaths sometime in the month of September,” Jha said. “And that is until September. The pandemic will not be over in September.”
Jha added, “I’m really worried about where we’ll be in the coming weeks and months.”
The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States was 112,754 on Wednesday, the highest in the world. Jha said this was directly related to the fact that the United States was the only major country to reopen without regaining business growth at a controlled level – a percentage of people who tested positive for the corona virus remained at least 5 days % or less.
He said the deaths are not “something that we should be doomed to do” and that they can be prevented by stepping up contact testing and tracking, strict social distance and widespread use of masks.
Several U.S. states have seen coronavirus cases on the rise in recent days, which was a major concern for Jha and other experts who say authorities are easing restrictions too early.
New Mexico, Utah and Arizona each saw cases rise by 40% for the week ending Sunday, according to an analysis by Reuters. Florida and Arkansas are other hot spots.
Nationally, new infections are increasing slightly after five weeks of decreases, according to a Reuters analysis showing the total number of cases at 2,003,038.
Part of the increase is due to more testing, which reached a record high of 545,690 tests in one day last Friday, but has since declined, according to the COVID tracking project https://covidtracking.com.
It is also likely due to the fact that more people are moving and resuming some business and social activities, as all 50 states are being gradually reopened after closings designed to curb the spread of the corona virus.
Health officials urged everyone who participated in national protests for racial justice to be tested. Experts fear that the protests, without social distance, that have taken place since the death of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police in Minneapolis on May 25 in Minneapolis may lead to a new peak in cases.
But Vice President Mike Pence said he saw no sign of that.
“What I can tell you is that we are not seeing an increase in new cases at this time, almost two weeks after the initial protests took effect,” Pence said in an interview on Fox Business Network. “Many protests wore masks and distanced themselves.”