Coronavirus US: Death toll hits 63,849 with 2,239 new fatalities

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The number of deaths in the United States from coronavirus is now well over 63,000 – a harrowing increase from just two months ago when only two fatalities had been reported. 

Back on March 1, only two deaths had been linked to coronavirus across the country and that figure increased to more than 4,800 by April 1.   

Now on May 1, deaths have skyrocketed to 63,849 – a grim reminder of just how severe the COVID-19 outbreak toll has had on the country. 

The number of deaths increased by 2,239 in 24 hours on Thursday. 

It marked the third day in a row where deaths have increased by more than 2,000 after appearing to have a brief lull when daily fatalities dropped below 1,600 on three consecutive days. 

Infections across the country have now increased to more than 1,097,000 and account for a third of the global COVID-19 cases. 

The number of deaths in the United States from coronavirus is now well over 63,000 – a harrowing increase from just two months ago when only two fatalities had been reported

The increasing number of deaths has now surpassed President Donald Trump’s best case scenario of 60,000 deaths.     

Trump, in recent weeks, had suggested that 60,000 might be the total death count from COVID-19. He had cited the estimate as a sign of relative success after the White House previously warned the US could suffer 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.  

Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, on March 29 revealed models projecting the deaths of 100,00-240,000 Americans, assuming social distancing efforts were ongoing. 

At the same time, she said epidemiology models initially had predicted a worst-case scenario of 1.5 million to 2.2 million US deaths without mitigation efforts such as social distancing, hand washing and staying home as much as possible.

Soon after, Trump began speculating that the 100,000 figure was an outer limit. Later, he leaned more toward the 60,000 projection.

‘The minimum number was 100,000 lives and I think we’ll be substantially under that number,’ he said April 10. ‘Hard to believe that if you had 60,000 – you could never be happy, but that’s a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking.’   

Trump has used the 2.2. million death estimate repeatedly to suggest he saved millions of lives through leadership that he and other administration officials say was ‘decisive’. Trump often cites restricting travel from China, where the virus originated, and from Europe, where it took hold before exploding in the US, as among his most important first steps. 

‘We did the right thing, because if we didn’t do it, you would have had a million people, a million and a half people, maybe 2 million people dead,’ the president said on April 20.

‘Now, we’re going toward 50-, I’m hearing, or 60,000 people. One is too many. I always say it. One is too many. But we’re going toward 50- or 60,000 people.’

It comes as the latest COVID-19 projection models, cited by the White House and CDC, predicted even more deaths by the end of summer. 

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model projects 74,073 Americans will die from the coronavirus by August 4.

That figure is down from about a month ago when the model projected around 90,000 deaths related to coronavirus in the US. 

The MOBS model from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University also estimates that there will be about 89,000 deaths by mid-May if stay-at-home orders remain in place. 

That death toll would increase to over one million in an unmitigated scenario, according to the projections that are among those used by the CDC to forecast the pandemic.

The director of the institute responsible for the MOBS model, Alessandro Vespignani, is estimating that 100,000 will die by the end of the ‘first wave’ at the end of summer. 

A COVID-19 Simulator tool developed by Massachusetts General Hospital and Georgia Tech University predicts that current restrictions being implemented in various states could see the US death toll reach about 86,000 fatalities by August 30.

These models all predict that reopening states too soon and relaxing social distancing measures will result in even more deaths.    

The MOBS model from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University estimates that 100,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by the end of the summer. It also estimates that there will be about 89,000 deaths by mid-May (above) if stay-at-home orders remain in place

The MOBS model from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University estimates that 100,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by the end of the summer. It also estimates that there will be about 89,000 deaths by mid-May (above) if stay-at-home orders remain in place 

Pictured above is a comparison of projected average infections by May 1 in scenarios where social distancing is adhered to and where it is not

Pictured above is a comparison of projected average infections by May 1 in scenarios where social distancing is adhered to and where it is not

Pictured above is a comparison of projected average infections by May 1 in scenarios where social distancing is adhered to and where it is not

These forecasts cited by the CDC track the number of COVID-19 death since February and show the estimated deaths across the US in the next four four weeks. All of the models assume that existing social distancing measures will continue, while the Columbia University (CU) models makes various assumptions on the effectiveness of current social distancing interventions

These forecasts cited by the CDC track the number of COVID-19 death since February and show the estimated deaths across the US in the next four four weeks. All of the models assume that existing social distancing measures will continue, while the Columbia University (CU) models makes various assumptions on the effectiveness of current social distancing interventions

This COVID-19 simulator tool developed by Massachusetts General Hospital and Georgia Tech University predicts that current restrictions being implemented in various states could see the US death toll reach about 86,000 fatalities by August 30

This COVID-19 simulator tool developed by Massachusetts General Hospital and Georgia Tech University predicts that current restrictions being implemented in various states could see the US death toll reach about 86,000 fatalities by August 30

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model projects 74,073 Americans will die from the coronavirus by August 4

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model projects 74,073 Americans will die from the coronavirus by August 4

Dr Anthony Fauci on Thursday warned states against moving too fast as more than two dozen move ahead with plans to relax restrictions on business and social life. 

With White House guidelines for social distancing expiring on Thursday, states have been grappling with when and how to revive their economies while still keeping residents safe with stay-at-home and social-distancing policies.

The states that have, or are about to reopen, have put plans in place despite the safeguards the White House had recommended, including 14-day declines in infection rates and expanded virus testing.

Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a White House task force member, warned those states that are reopening that they could be tempting a rebound by opening too soon.

He did not mention specific states.

‘You can’t just leap over things to a situation where you’re really tempting (the virus) to rebound. That’s the thing I get concerned about. I hope they don’t do that,’ he told NBC’s Today on Thursday.  

He doubled down on recommendations issued by the White House that states should show a 14-day decline in new infections and have contact tracing measures in place to identify any future spikes.

He said if those measures were in place, he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about states reopening.

‘The guidelines are very explicit and very clear. You have to have the core principles of the guidelines (in place),’ Dr Fauci said.

The sense of urgency with which states were looking to reopen was highlighted on Thursday by Labor Department data showing that 3.839 million people filed claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 25.

It lifted the number of people who have sought unemployment benefits through the pandemic to more than 30 million, which represents roughly 18.4% of the working age population.

The degree to which states are reopening varies widely across the country.

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