As of Friday, America has crossed the grim mark of over 7 million Covid-19 cases, only eight months after the nation’s first case was reported. This milestone has been reached just days after authorities warned that the outbreak was set to rapidly grow larger in a few months.
America is the hardest-hit nation in the world for the number of deaths and cases. And now, leading experts at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington are projecting that the death toll from this virus may rise twofold by the end of the year from a “major winter surge”.
This surge can quickly go up from a decrease in following restrictions such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Researchers are alerting states to re-impose restrictions in order to control spread.
Ironically, these recommendations come in the same week that Florida lifted restrictions on businesses, stores, bars, and restaurants, with the latter allowed to function at “full capacity”.
A recent study on dialysis patients estimated that only 9% of American adults have been exposed to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. So far, among other studies, this is the largest percentage that can be said to have herd immunity. The rest of the American population remains largely vulnerable.
Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, expressed concerns about the infection rates being this high and said that regardless of the number, America is nowhere close to the end of the pandemic. He said,
“The only way we're going to get to herd immunity unless you're in a very closed community like a prison is for everybody to get vaccinated.”
The World Health Organization says that unless further action is effectively taken to slow down the global spread, the death toll will probably double till the vaccine is widely available. At the moment, the world is just a few numbers shy of hitting the 1 million death toll.
The Head of WHO health emergency program, Dr. Mike Ryan, was quoted sayingthat 2 million deaths are “not only imaginable but sadly very likely” without increased social distancing, testing, tracing, and mask-wearing, among other measures to control the virus spread.