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University of Washington forecasts 300,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths

World Aug 06, 2020 08:11PM ET
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© Reuters. Customers wait in line to shop for food at a Food 4 Less grocery store, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Los Angeles
 
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By Doina Chiacu and Rich McKay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

'TROUBLE AHEAD'

The U.S. 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.

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 (NYSE:NWE) Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

"We don't know all of it, but it's not the fear of the unknown anymore," she told Reuters.

Trump has urged state and local authorities to re-open public schools for in-person learning and Fauci has said children should be sent back to class as soon as possible.

But many school districts nationwide, including two of the largest, Los Angeles and Chicago, have opted for online instruction.

In rural Mississippi's Corinth school district, where schools opened two weeks ago, five COVID-19 infections forced some students and teachers into quarantine, Superintendent Edward Lee Childress said on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Live.

The decision to reopen schools took into account the "inevitable moment" that COVID-19 would be detected and contact tracing plans triggered, Childress said.

"We're going to have some more positive cases. We know it will happen," he said.

Although the number of Americans seeking jobless benefits fell last week, a staggering 31.3 million people were receiving unemployment checks in mid-July. Other data on Thursday showed a 54% surge in job cuts announced by employers in July.

The State Department on Thursday lifted an advisory from March that U.S. citizens should avoid all international travel due to the pandemic. But American travelers are still restricted or banned in many parts of the world, including the European Union and Canada.

Graphic: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA/0100B5K8423/index.html

University of Washington forecasts 300,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths
 

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Comments (7)
Vv Pp
Vv Pp Aug 06, 2020 9:05PM ET
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3rd world country.. so sad
David David
David9 Aug 06, 2020 9:03PM ET
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Since day one Jan 1, we still do not make mask mandatory, no app tracing, no temp. check, people get into fights at groceries for not wanting to wear mask because it is against their freedom, and Trump still say we are doing the best, so beautiful job, we have the best test, open up, get back to school, open restaurant, we are doing fabulous, etc....we are sitting ducks waiting for a vaccine, and all Trump does is to put tarriffs, block this and that, and blame. That's it.
katya litski
katya litski Aug 06, 2020 8:49PM ET
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a little more than 1000 deaths a day to hit that aka what were going through now. seems probable
Plopseven Schwartz
Plopseven Schwartz Aug 06, 2020 8:33PM ET
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This is double the death toll of Hiroshima. Think about that. Trump’s policies caused two nucleae detonations in America.
john richards
john richards Aug 06, 2020 8:16PM ET
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Turn out the lights always wrong fanat1cally brain dead left1st imbec1les. From the no V market recovery to 25 nations now using HCQ for Covid- you folks are never, ever right and never will be. BTW Norway and Sweden both LOL at masks citing no credible science- looks like another wrong again.
Tedjom Yempke
Tedjom Yempke Aug 06, 2020 8:16PM ET
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good
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Aug 06, 2020 5:54PM ET
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Turn out the lights, Dr. Donny. The party’s over. And don’t forget to take all the Lysol you’ve been stockpiling over the past few months. What an I. D. I. O. T.!
Christine Michaels
Christine Michaels Aug 06, 2020 4:44PM ET
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Trump should have focused on testing, contract tracing, etc. in the beginning when the numbers were lower. I will never understand why he didn't use the defense production act and pull all stops to get testing in the beginning. Then the economy wouldn't be in a stupor now.
 
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