With no signs of the deadly COVID-19 abating, a leading expert has said that the United States may see 200,000 deaths due to the novel virus at some point in September. As lockdown restrictions relax and protests take over the country, the total coronavirus infections surpassed 2 million on Wednesday.
Speaking at an interview with CNN, Ashish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute said that without drastic action, the number of US deaths would continue to surge.
“Even if we don’t have increasing cases, even if we keep things flat, it’s reasonable to expect that we’re going to hit 200,000 deaths sometime during the month of September,” Jha said. “And that’s just through September. The pandemic won’t be over in September.”
He added, “I’m really worried about where we’re going to be in the weeks and months ahead.”
The total number of deaths due to the highly infectious virus reached 112,754 on Wednesday, the most in the world. According to Jha, this is because the United States is the only country to reopen without getting its infection growth to a controlled level - a rate of people testing positive for the coronavirus remaining at 5 per cent or lower for at least 14 days.
He said the deaths were not “something we have to be fated with” and could be prevented by ramping up testing and contact tracing, strict social distancing and widespread use of masks.
Recently, health experts urged people who participated in nationwide protests for racial justice to get tested for COVID-19.