The pandemic: Global death toll tops 2M

covid 19 seattle usajpg

The global death toll from COVID-19, identified also as coronavirus, pandemic topped 2 million on January 15, 2021.

The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, U.S., is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna. It is roughly equivalent to the population of the Cleveland metropolitan area in the U.S., or the entire U.S. state of Nebraska.

The death count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world. But the real toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and the many fatalities that were inaccurately attributed to other causes, especially early in the outbreak.

It took eight months to hit 1 million pandemic-dead. But it took less than four months after that to reach the next million.

Science succeeds

On the pandemic-deaths, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “Behind this terrible number are names and faces — the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one.”

He said the toll “has been made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort.”

“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.

Vaccines developed at breakneck speed are being rolled out around the world in an all-out campaign to vanquish the threat. The scientific achievement has been made just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, a city in China.

In wealthy countries including the U.S., Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany, millions of citizens have already been given some measure of protection with at least one dose of vaccine developed with unimaginable speed and quickly authorized for use.

But elsewhere, immunization drives have barely gotten off the ground.

Brazil Iran India Mexico

Many experts are predicting another year of loss and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil, which together account for about a quarter of the world’s deaths.

More than 90,000 Americans could die of Covid-19 in next three weeks

More than 38,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 in the first two weeks of the new year.

Another 92,000 could die from the virus over roughly the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The numbers are scary and reflect what public health experts have repeatedly warned: While the end is in sight – with the help of ongoing Covid-19 vaccinations – the nation still faces challenging times ahead.

U.S. life expectancy reduced

With so many deaths from Covid-19, researchers said Thursday the pandemic will reduce U.S. life expectancy by more than a year to 77.48 years for 2020 – lower than any year since 2003.

“Some reduction in life expectancy may persist beyond 2020 because of continued Covid-19 mortality and long-term health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic,” Theresa Andrasfay of the University of Southern California and Noreen Goldman of Princeton University’s Office of Population Research wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Currently, more than 130,300 people are hospitalized in the U.S. with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Hundreds of thousands of infections are added to the U.S.’s tally every single day, with the U.S. adding more than three million new reported infections since the start of the month.

In Los Angeles County, about one in three residents has been infected with the virus since the pandemic’s start, according to data published by county officials. Outbreaks have increased across workplaces as well as schools and day care settings, they said.

In Washington, DC, cases have never been higher. Right now, it is averaging more than 320 new cases every day – about a 38% jump from the previous week. DC has reported a total of more than 32,600 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic’s start, about 10% of which have been added in 2021.

New pandemic model predicts 567,000 Covid-19 deaths by May 1 in U.S.

The influential coronavirus model at the University of Washington is projecting 192,000 people will die from coronavirus in the U.S. between now and May 1, bringing the total to 566,720 deaths by May 1.

That is the same number the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected in its last estimate, released December 23. The group says more rapid vaccination efforts can bring the number down to 553,000 and universal mask use would take it down even further to 535,000.

The model assumes that 22% of the U.S. population has been infected with the virus.

The forecast offers some hope for the spring.

“We expect the death toll will reach 567,000 by May 1, with a likely peak at the beginning of February,” IHME said in a statement.

“Daily deaths are expected to decline steadily after the peak, reaching below 500 a day sometime in April due to seasonality and the scale-up of vaccination. By May 1, some states may be close to herd immunity.”

“Despite huge reporting lags around the holidays leading to false declines in the last week of December and subsequent overestimated increases, it appears that there are two distinct groups of states. In most of the coastal states, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are increasing, while the epidemic is trending down in much of the Midwest,” the IHME said.

New variant B.1.1.7

But new variants could change projections. Earlier Friday, the U.S. CDC warned a new variant called B. 1.1.7, first seen in Britain, could worsen the pandemic.

“If more transmissible variants spread in the US in the coming weeks, the peak could be delayed by weeks and the death toll substantially increased,” IHME said.

Either way, the worst is yet to come.

Many U.S. hospitals under severe stress

“Hospitals in many states will be under severe stress in the next four weeks. Expanding mask use, timely reintroduction of some social distancing mandates, and more rapid scale-up of vaccination remain the best options for reducing the death toll.”

The IHME team estimates 76% of Americans always wear a mask when leaving home.

“We expect that 141 million people will be vaccinated by May 1. With faster scale-up, the number vaccinated could reach 179 million people,” the IHME said.

“Daily deaths will peak at 3,680 on February 1, 2021,” IHME said. “Daily deaths are estimated to be well below 500 a day in the month of April. By May 1, 2021, we project that 37,800 lives will be saved by the projected vaccine rollout.”



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