“They’re starting to tick,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Deaths are a lagging indicator, so we always expected them to take some time to rise.”
After mid-April, the daily death toll declined due to nationwide shutdown orders and the virus curve leveling off. The low point was July 5, with 217 registered coronavirus deaths, the lowest since March 24, when the pandemic began to boom.
Since then, the number of deaths has increased in record numbers in several states, exceeding 800 deaths in the past four days. Although still below its highs in April and May, when more than 2,000 people died from the virus each day, experts warn that the trend may worsen.
“This is just the first wave of suffering and death. The longer we wait to act aggressively, the more difficult it will be for us to get out of the tailspin, ”said Ashish K. Jha, who heads the Harvard Global Health Institute.
The increase in deaths this week remains a small sample.
Nuzzo said that she and other public health experts prefer to assess trends that are consistent over a week or two, rather than just a few days.
“I would give it two weeks to know for sure,”
Nicholas Reich, a biostatist at the University of Massachusetts, who is grouping more than 30 epidemiological models to predict the coming weeks of the pandemic, predicted Wednesday that the country will rise to 147,466 fatalities by August 1. an increase of approximately 16,000 over 2½ weeks.
“The best guess of the model is that the number of new # COVID19 deaths in the United States will increase slowly and steadily over the next four weeks, between 3,800 and 5,000 per week. This records declines in some states and increases in others, ”Reich wrote on Twitter.
In an email to The Post, he said these models could be useful, for example, when planning hospital staffing and communicating to the public about the progress of the pandemic. But he warned that the models are not crystal balls.
The increase in test rates and the fact that more young people are being tested make it difficult for modelers to make predictions based on events earlier in the pandemic when test rates were lower and the confirmed cases were more likely to affect older people with a higher risk of death said Reich.
The surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has been fueled by states that were the first to relax shutdown restrictions and begin reopening their businesses. With the flood of new cases, more than a dozen states have interrupted reopening, and others have reintroduced bans or restrictions on indoor bars and gatherings.
Nevada plans to close bars in counties where virus numbers are increasing, including Clark County, home of Las Vegas. Governor Steve Sisolak (D) said Thursday evening that the regulation, which comes into force on Saturday, will not apply to districts with only a few cases. At the moment, eating indoors is still allowed.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) enacted an order on Friday that instructed companies to refuse service to customers who do not wear masks or who are at risk of suspension of their licenses.
Many of the problems that marked the country’s first encounters with the corona virus in the spring have recurred in different areas when the virus broke new ground. As patients flock to emergency rooms, hospitals have reported a lack of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses and have rushed to add intensive care beds. There have also been new complaints about missing tests and slow results.
Even President Trump’s most popular remedy – the hydroxychloroquine malaria drug, which he took as a prophylactic and termed a “game changer” – is being revived, despite the Food and Drug Administration revoking its approval last month after safety warnings of possible heart problems.
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro headed a Trump government to request that the FDA renew its emergency approval for the controversial drug.
“It feels like Groundhog Day. You repeat the same thing. And that’s because you can only use so many rejection tactics, ”said Jha of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “The federal government is just AWOL.”
The public is increasingly critical of the government’s response to pandemics. According to a ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Friday, two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the corona virus, its worst number to date.
The poll found 67 percent disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, while 33 percent agree. Trump’s disapproval number has risen nine points since mid-June.
Federal health officials released the coronavirus test plans drawn up by each state, several major cities, and U.S. territories on Friday. The Trump administration has decided to rely on these individual plans and has rejected Congress’s call for a unified nationwide testing strategy.
The plans are intended to meet one of the few standards that the administration has set: States should test at least 2 percent of their population.
Few plans mention how many days it should take for test results to be available – a particular problem as the test times extend again. The New York report is an exception, according to which private laboratories with city contracts must deliver results within two days.
Some plans, including Houstons, promise to test people with or without symptoms of Covid-19. Public health officials have said that in cases, spikes are largely fueled by younger adults who are less likely to become seriously ill if infected. However, most states’ plans focus on testing their most vulnerable residents – including older adults, nursing home residents, and healthcare workers.
Several government plans emphasize that they need federal help to secure enough testing. “If the federal government reduces or stops sending test kits. . . Georgia could result in one [insurmountable] Challenge and the state will not achieve the 2% test target without additional private laboratory resources, ”says the state’s plan. Louisiana said: “The greatest threat to the success of our test plan is the inability to obtain the necessary supplies and reagents to successfully complete the state test plan.”
Plans in at least two states list certain local industries whose workers are particularly vulnerable to infection. Nebraska mentions its meat packaging operations, and Delaware points out that it has a robust poultry industry.
Federal health officials announced on Friday that they would provide additional $ 4 billion in aid to two groups of hospitals and other health care providers facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. The money is part of the $ 175 billion in healthcare that Congress passed in March and April in law – about $ 115 billion of which has been committed so far, officials said.
According to officials, an estimated 215 hospitals, doctors or other providers who treat many poor patients and work with low or negative profit margins will have access to around $ 3 billion. You were not eligible for $ 10 billion spent on security-net hospitals last month. The other $ 1 billion is for rural hospitals or suburban facilities that treat many rural patients.
Jaqueline Dupree, Chelsea Janes, Rachel Weiner, John Wagner and Antonia Farzan contributed to this report.