Let’s go first to the rising number of infections and predictions out of Washington University that US infections could pass 200,000 by October. The forecast projects 201,129 deaths due to COVID-19 by October, mainly due to the reopening measures under way, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington said on Monday.
The IHME raised its estimate by 18 % from 169,890 and said Florida would be among the hardest hit states, with an estimated 18,675 deaths, up 186% from a previous estimate of 6,559 on 10 June.
The institute raised its estimate for deaths in California by 72% to 15,155 from 8,812 and increased its outlook for Arizona by 56% to 7,415 fatalities from 4,762.
Forgive me if I baffle you with numbers for a moment, but predictions over US deaths has been somewhat of a rollercoaster during this pandemic. If you cast your mind back to March, and the top US coronavirus taskforce advisers, doctors Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, estimated 100,000-240,000 Americans could die from the virus. They made their grim prediction at a White House briefing, calling it “our real number”, while also pledging to do everything to reduce it.
Then, when strong restrictions came into force, the estimates seemed to seriously drop, to closer to 60,000 deaths. But when President Trump effectively stopped his daily White House briefings (after his suggestion of injecting disinfectant), he began hinting that the toll may end up being higher … perhaps 80,000-90,000, in a “virtual town hall” with Fox news. Now things seem to have come full circle with this estimate of perhaps 200,000 deaths by October.