The day after an angry mob of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 while Congress was counting the Electoral College votes to validate the election of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, resulting in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer, another tragedy was unfolding in thousands of hospitals across America.
Thursday was the first day that American deaths caused by a respiratory disease named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization on Feb. 11, 2020, exceeded four thousand. The exact number of fatalities was 4,194, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Friday was the second deadliest for the virus in the U.S., responsible for 3,895 deaths, causing the 7-day average to exceed 3,000 for the first time, according to The New York Times coronavirus tracker
Since the first recorded death on Feb. 29, 2020, in King County, Washington, there have been over 372,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins. The growing U.S. death toll accounts for over 19 percent of the 1.92 million global deaths even though the U.S. has only 4.25 percent of the world’s population.
[The correspondent recommends “How the Pandemic Defeated America: A virus has brought the world’s most powerful country to its knees” by Ed Yong for The Atlantic (August 2020).]
Projections for January
The ensemble forecast by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts a range of 35,000 to 68,000 additional deaths due to Covid by Jan. 30, bringing the total to 405,000 to 438,000.
The current projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the model cited most often by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is for 453,000 deaths, although it provides a range based on three factors:
- Universal masking would lower the projection by 12,000 deaths
- Easing coronavirus restrictions would add 23,000 deaths
- For all the talk about vaccines, a “rapid vaccine rollout” would lower deaths by less than 500
The source article below by Brittany Shammas and Ben Guarino highlights the latest CDC research showing that almost 60 percent of coronavirus transmission comes from people who are asymptomatic, i.e., not showing symptoms of the disease, “demonstrat[ing] the importance of following the agency’s guidelines about wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.”
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