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US health officials say the death toll may be behind the worst



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior US health officials believe the coronavirus outbreak could kill fewer Americans than some recent forecasts. This indicates preliminary signs that the death toll in New York and other trouble spots is gradually decreasing.

FILE PHOTO: Lloyd Robinson, a local musician, plays a marching mellophone under the I10 freeway during a meeting with friends of musicians during Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) spread on April 6, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, goes on. REUTERS / Carlos Barria

U.S. General Surgeon Jerome Adams said Tuesday that he agreed with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that some research models predicted fatalities that could prove to be too high, although none would offer an alternative estimate.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force predicted a death toll of 100,000 to 240,000 a week ago. She said it was possible to contain deaths in this area if strict social removal measures were followed, which implies that they could be even higher.

Adams told ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​Tuesday that he was encouraged by recent data showing a possible “flattening” of the outbreak in some areas, and referred to the shape of the curve when deaths are plotted on a graph.

When asked if he thought the death toll would be below the White House Task Force projection, Adams said, “This is absolutely my expectation.”

“I’m much more optimistic again because I see the mitigation work,” he said, adding that he agreed with CDC director Robert Redfield that the deaths could be less than the total values ​​reported by some computer models.

Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana indicated preliminary signs on Monday that the outbreak of the corona virus may plateau, but warned of complacency.

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have exceeded 10,000 and confirmed cases have exceeded 367,000.

President Donald Trump, who previously said the coronavirus would miraculously go away, replied to the recent White House projection that fewer than 100,000 deaths would count as a success.

Redfield told KVOI Radio in Tucson, Arizona on Monday that social distancing, as ordered by almost all state governors, was effective.

“If we only have social distance, we will see that this virus and outbreak basically decrease, decrease, decrease. And I think you can see that, “said Redfield.” I think you will see that the numbers will actually be much smaller than the models predicted. ”

A research model from the University of Washington – one of several cited by leading health officials – predicts 81,766 US coronavirus deaths by August 4, a decrease of approximately 12,000 from a weekend projection.

The pandemic has changed daily life around the world, killing more than 74,000 people and infecting at least 1.3 million.

American hospitals were overwhelmed by COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. They reported lack of staff, protective clothing and other relief items, while patients torment themselves and are not allowed to receive guests.

Even so, growth rates and hospitalizations slowed, which may indicate that the pandemic was about to peak in three U.S. epicentres, New York and New Jersey governors said Monday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said COVID-19 deaths across the country have decreased by 600 a day in recent days, the highest in the nation. But hospitalizations, intensive care admissions, and the number of patients using ventilators to maintain breathing have decreased, Cuomo said.

In neighboring New Jersey, the state with the second highest number of cases and deaths, Governor Phil Murphy said efforts to reduce spread “are gradually paying off”. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards was also cautiously optimistic, noting that the number of hospital admissions was down.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Letter from Daniel Trotta; Edited by Howard Goller

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