US lowers death projections

April 10, 2020

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WASHINGTON: A key member of the White House coronavirus task force said on Thursday that social distancing had substantially reduced death projections in the United States, from 200,000 to 60,000.

The death toll in the coronavirus outbreak crossed 16,000 by Thursday —1,940 of them in the last 24 hours. This was slightly better than Tuesday’s highest ever death toll of 1,970. Total infections also reached almost 450,000 by Thursday evening.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert in the White House task force, however, offered some hope. He said that the United States was enduring a “very bad week”, as predicted, but the situation would soon improve.

In an interview to NBC News on Thursday he said the American public’s embrace of social distancing and other restrictions was sharply reducing projections of the death toll from this respiratory virus.

Under the new projections, the final death toll now “looks more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000”, as previously estimated, he said.

“You can see … some glimmers of hope, particularly when you look at the situation in New York — where the number of hospitalisations, requirements for intensive care and intubation over the last few days have actually stabilised and [are] starting to come down,” Dr Fauci said. New York is the epicentre of this pandemic in America, as between 600 to 800 are dying there every day.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the United States suffered the deadliest day of the pandemic yet, with nearly 2,000 deaths and more than 30,000 infections.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020