Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates that the U.S. could see more than 200,000 deaths due to the coronavirus by October 2020. So far, more than two million people have been infected and 116,125 have died. Many states are seeing reduced case numbers in recent weeks, but eighteen states have seen an upward trend in cases since reopening. These numbers show that the pandemic has not reached a conclusion. Ali Mokdad, a researcher at the University of Washington, said “Increased mobility and premature relaxation of social distancing led to more infections, and we see it in Florida, Arizona, and other states. This means more projected deaths.”
Ali Mokdad has worked on a model that predicts COVID-19 death and case counts. The model was created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The model shows a slowdown of cases through June and July. However, a second spike of cases through September, which will likely up the death count to 201,129. This model changes on a daily basis and becomes less accurate the further into the future it is used to predict. Yet, such models are important for leaders within our country because they can help decide a course of action most likely to succeed in limiting the impact of COVID-19. These projections have led many to the conclusion that normal life will not return for several months.
Currently there are eighteen states with an upward trend in COVID-19 cases, ten states seeing a steady rate of cases, and twenty-two states with a downward trend. Among the twenty-two states with a downward trend is Missouri. However, these projections and numbers change every second.
States faced with ever rising case numbers are being forced into tough decisions. Many of these states have already begun reopening, so they must decide whether to continue along a path to normalcy or shut down again. Arkansas is one of the states seeing large spikes in numbers. Their governor has decided to continue with Phase 2 of reopening, stating that “We can’t have life on hold for six months to a year before there is a vaccination. We have to be able to carry on life and business.” In contrast, the city of Austin, Texas has already extended their stay at home order through August 15th. Several states have decided to stay closed to be cautious.
More studies about the coronavirus are being conducted. The studies initially predicting the elderly and immunocompromised to be at the highest risk, continue to be proven right. However,another group has also been added to the “at-risk” list. Statistics show that minorities more likely than white Americans to contract and die from the coronavirus. Health professionals are hoping to protect people from the virus through these studies and learning more about the virus.