Model predicts 400,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US by March

A healthcare worker uses a swab to test a man at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) drive-in testing location in Houston, Texas, U.S

Based on its prevailing trajectory, America is hurtling towards an impending COVID death toll of more than 400,000 by next spring, according to the new projections by a predictive model used often by data crunchers in Donald Trump’s White House COVID task force.

Tom Frieden, former chief of America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is sounding the alarm in stark terms. “We’re going in the wrong direction very fast,” he told NBC.

“It’s a bad year to be traveling. That’s a formula for disaster,” Frieden said, urging Americans not to congregate in big numbers during the Thanksgiving holidays coming at the end of November.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington predicts a total of 438,941 deaths in America by March 1, 2021.

Already, the US leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths – despite having an unparalleled public health leadership structure that took the Ebola crisis head-on in 2014.

The coronavirus has killed more than 243,000 people in the US since the first case was reported in January this year. Total cases are at 10.5 million and rising at over 100,000 per day for ten consecutive days.

Since Trump’s last public address barely a week ago, the virus has claimed more than 7,000 lives.

States are imposing new restrictions as the pandemic’s winter surge is roaring in at least 45 of America’s 50 states. Hospitals are overwhelmed, Governors are begging people to stay home, many states that remained obstinate over social distancing are now doing a 360-degree turn.

Maria Paiz, a registered nurse supervisor at the University of New Mexico, broke down repeatedly while doing a television interview. “I know this is complex but please have some empathy! Please social distance,” she pleaded with the audience.

“It’s the hardest thing I have had to do…to help somebody pass while their family watches over an iPad. It’s frustrating that we’re not listening to science in this country,” Paiz said, echoing the feelings of millions of frontline workers in the country.

Ten months into the pandemic, America still does not have a national mask mandate. The US President, who has called masks “optional” and described doctors and scientists as “idiots”, lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. Trump continues to stew over the election results as virus cases go off the charts.

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