Published: 12:51, May 11, 2020 | Updated: 02:52, June 6, 2023
US deaths forecast to surge
By Ai Heping in New York and Zhao Huanxin in Washington

University of Washington model projects over 134,000 lives lost by early August

COVID-19 may kill more than 134,000 people in the United States by early August, revised modeling from the University of Washington indicated on May 4.

The model, from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or the IHME, projected 134,475 deaths by August 4, with a range of 95,092 to 242,890.

“These projections are considerably higher than previous estimates, representing the combined effects of death model updates and formally incorporating the effect of changes in mobility and social distancing policies into transmission dynamics,” the IHME said.

The revised projections reflect rising mobility in most US states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, indicating that growing contacts among people will promote transmission of the coronavirus, according to the IHME.

Any medication for an infection, should be used appropriately, because widespread inappropriate use of any medicine can result in resistance to that particular medication

George Diaz, section chief, Providence Regional Medical Center, Washington

“In each state, the evolution of the epidemic depends on the balance between relaxed social distancing, increasing temperature, and rising rates of testing and contact tracing,” said IHME Director Christopher Murray.

“We expect that the epidemic in many states will now extend through the summer,” he said.

The updated modeling approach indicates that the US appears to be in a prolonged epidemic peak, averaging near or over 2,000 predicted deaths a day for the last few weeks, according to the IHME.

A New York Times report said daily deaths from the virus in the US will reach about 3,000 on June 1, nearly double the current level of about 1,750, with 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases now.

The projections are based on modeling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to internal documents the newspaper said it obtained.

There were more than 1.18 million infections in the US — or nearly one-third of the global total — according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 68,900 people in the country have died of the virus.

In a separate development, the first doctor in the US to administer remdesivir — a drug that has shown early promise as a treatment for COVID-19 — warned on May 4 that it should be used “carefully and wisely”.

“It appears that we do have an agent in our armamentarium against COVID (-19), but we have to use it very wisely,” said George Diaz, section chief of infectious diseases at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington.

“This should not be used as a crutch to — for patients to say, well — or people to say, ‘I can now do whatever I want because we have a treatment.’” Diaz said on May 4.

The doctor said that any medication for treatment of an infection, whether it be to treat bacteria or viruses, should be used appropriately, because widespread inappropriate use of any medicine can result in resistance to that particular medication.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 1 that remdesivir has been authorized by regulators for emergency use against the virus. On Sunday, Trump said the US government is putting its “full power and might” behind the drug.

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Xinhua and agencies contributed to this story.