Model: 200K in US could die from COVID-19 by October

Posted at 7:34 AM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 09:39:48-04

(CNN) -- The United States could see more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 by October 1, a closely watched model predicted Monday as states continue to reopen.

More than 2 million have been infected by the virus and 116,125 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Though many states are seeing improved conditions, the pandemic has not yet reached its conclusion. The projection comes as 18 states are still seeing an upward trend in new cases.

"Increased mobility and premature relaxation of social distancing led to more infections, and we see it in Florida, Arizona, and other states," said Ali Mokdad, one of the creators of the model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

"This means more projected deaths."

Although daily death rates are expected to drop in June and July, the model forecasts a second hike in deaths through September, culminating in 201,129 by October 1.

The model's certainty decreases the further out in time it projects.

Projections such as the one from the IHME, as well as metrics on infections and hospitalizations, are important as states decide how to proceed. Looking at the infection rates currently, Dr. Anthony Fauci told British newspaper The Telegraph, it will likely be months before life can return to normal again.

How states are trending

  • 18 states trending upward in newly reported cases from one week to the next: California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alaska and Hawaii.
  • 10 states are seeing steady numbers of newly reported cases: Washington, Utah, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Maine and Rhode Island.
  • 22 states with a downward trend: Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware.

States decide whether to continue to reopen as virus spreads

Some states seeing rising coronavirus cases may have to decide if they will continue reopening as planned.

Although Arkansas recorded 731 new cases -- its largest spike since the pandemic began -- the state still will move into phase two of reopening, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

"We can't have life on hold for six months to a year until there's a vaccination," said Hutchinson. "We have to be able to carry on life and business."

North Carolina's next steps are not yet clear as the state sees positive rates of tests and hospitalizations. Gov. Roy Cooper told reporters Monday that he would announce early next week whether the state will still open under phase three later this month.

The city of Austin, Texas, has already taken action, extending stay home orders through August 15, Mayor Steve Adler tweeted Monday.

There has been a rise in cases of coronavirus in the city, Adler said. Meanwhile, Texas reported a record high of 2,326 hospitalizations due to coronavirus on Monday.

New Jersey is among the states with the lowest trend in new cases in the country, but Gov. Phil Murphy said that does not equal clearance to throw out precautions.

"We're not just going to throw up our doors all at once as other states have done," Murphy said. "We've already paid a huge, huge almost unfathomable price."

Who is getting sick

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sheds some light on the demographic breakdown of who is getting sick with the virus in the US and how they have fared.

Of the 1,761,503 cases of coronavirus between January 22 and May 30, 14% were hospitalized, 2% were admitted to the intensive care unit and 5% died.

The latest figures confirm that older people, minorities and those with preexisting health conditions are at highest risk of death.

Globally, about one in five people have an underlying health condition that put them at increased risk of getting severely ill from coronavirus, according to a study published in the journal Lancet Global Health on Monday.

Many of those may have conditions that have not been diagnosed or are not known to the health system, the researchers, from institutions around the world including the United Kingdom, United States and China, wrote in the study.

Learning more about the virus

Health professionals are hoping to protect people from the virus by learning more about it.

The National Institutes of Health launched a national database to collect medical information on US coronavirus patients to learn more.

"This effort aims to transform clinical information into knowledge urgently needed to study COVID-19, including health risk factors that indicate better or worse outcomes of the disease, and identify potentially effective treatments," the agency said in a news release Monday.

To help inform the public about if they have been exposed to the virus, the Red Cross announced Monday that it will be testing all blood, plasma and platelet donations for coronavirus antibodies.

The test, which has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration, shows whether a person's immune system has produced antibodies to fight the virus.

Children were once thought to not be as likely to have a difficult fight with the virus, but a team at Northwell Health, a large New York health system, said that a condition called Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) may be a delayed response to a coronavirus infection.

"We were pretty shocked as it was playing out," Dr. Charles Schleien told CNN on Monday. "The whole syndrome came out of the blue. We had been comfortable for months (in the belief) that kids weren't affected all these months by coronavirus."

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