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Harvard expert expects another 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the US by September

Published Jun 11th, 2020 2:29PM EDT
Coronavirus Stats
Image: JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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  • Coronavirus stats for the United States are still far from reassuring, a Harvard health expert said.
  • Dr. Ashish Jha estimates that America could register 200,000 COVID-19 deaths by September.
  • Reports earlier this week noted that the number of coronavirus cases has seen spikes in several states and that some of them might be undercounting cases and fatalities.

The United States passed another major milestone when it comes to the number of infections with the novel coronavirus. With more than 2.06 million cases as of Thursday morning, America has the world’s largest COVID-19 caseload to date. It’s also first when it comes to the total number of deaths, with more than 115,000 people having died of COVID-19 complications. Nearly 7.5 million people have had confirmed infections worldwide, and over 420,000 people died. As US states are opening up their economies, Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha predicts that the US will cross 200,000 deaths sometime in September

“I think that is catastrophic. I think that is not something we have to be fated to live with,” Jha told CNN, via Business Insider. “We can change the course. We can change course today.”

Jha’s estimate is almost in line with another tool used to model the impact of the novel coronavirus. The tool revised its projection for COVID-19 deaths by October 1st to over 193,000 earlier this week. The modeling tool now indicates that nearly 170,000 Americans will die of COVID-19 by October 1st:

Coronavirus death toll estimate by October 1st, according to June 11th figures. Image source: IHME

Jha explained his estimates only take into account the next few months, but COVID-19 will obviously not disappear after that. “The pandemic won’t be over in September,” Jha said. “So, I’m really worried about where we’re going to be in the weeks and months ahead.”

“We’re really the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we really needed to,” Jha noted, adding that the US is the only advanced country in the world not to have a proper contact tracing system setup. People should continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks, Jha advised. They should also “put pressure” on the government to advance testing and contact tracing programs.

Reports earlier this week said COVID-19 hospitalizations rose sharply in at least nine states after Memorial Day. The spikes began in the past couple of weeks and are trending higher, The Washington Post said.

Separately, CNN added that more than half of states may be undercounting cases, as they’re not following CDC reporting guidelines that say states should also count probable cases. These are cases that have not been confirmed via testing or instances where coronavirus was listed as a cause of death but was not confirmed with a test either. The report also noted that 26 states are seeing an increased or steady rate of new cases.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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