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COVID-19: 300,000 Americans May Be Dead By December — Experts

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Nearly 300,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by Dec. 1, University of Washington health experts forecast on Thursday, although they said 70,000 lives could be saved if people were scrupulous about wearing masks.

The prediction by the university’s widely cited Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation comes as top White House infectious disease advisors warned that major US cities could erupt as new hot spots if officials there were not vigilant with counter-measures.

“We’re seeing a rollercoaster in the United States. It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the IHME said in announcing the university’s latest forecast.

The US death toll stands at over 159,000, the most of any country in the world, with 4.8 million known cases. (Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive graphic)

The IHME said infections were falling in former epicenters of Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, but rising in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Virginia. Those findings are consistent with Reuters tallies.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, on Thursday said he had tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump, but had experienced no symptoms of the illness.

Tennessee and North Carolina reported record single-day increases in deaths on Thursday with 42 and 73, respectively.

The US outbreak, once centered around densely populated New York City, has since infected communities from coast to coast. Experts believe that spread has been driven in part by summer vacation travel.

“This is a predictor of trouble ahead,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases official, told CNN on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Another Contagious Virus, STFS Found In China

Fauci was speaking after the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, identified new areas of concern during a telephone call with state and local officials on Wednesday.

Baltimore and Atlanta remain at a “very high level,” as well as Kansas City, Portland, Omaha and California’s Central Valley, Birx said on the call, a recording of which was obtained by the journalism nonprofit Center for Public Integrity.

White House data shows small increases in the percentage of positive tests in Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Washington.

On the positive side, medical professionals have a better understanding of what they are dealing with, said Dr. Khalilah Gates, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

“We don’t know all of it, but it’s not the fear of the unknown anymore,” she told Reuters

Credit: The Jarkata Post

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