Death Toll Estimates Are Skyrocketing
When Dr. Deborah Birx addressed the nation during the daily coronavirus briefing on Sunday, she offered up some information that may seem alarming to many. As the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s response coordinator, she is responsible for providing a wide range of updates. She and Dr. Fauci will continue to play a key role in the nation’s rehabilitation process.
The estimated death toll for the United States is somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000. Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci have both provided a similar estimate when asked. The Task Force is now in the process of re-evaluating these numbers, in hopes of reducing the death toll before it is too late.
A Chris Murray study was released last week as well. This study aligns with the findings from Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci. At first, Dr. Brix’s predictions were far more dire. She believed that millions of Americans would die from the coronavirus pandemic. No one is sure where this excessive number came from and the fear-mongering was at an all-time high.
The government needed a defense for the destruction of the economy. The only way that they could convince the nation that they needed to go into immediate lockdown is by overplaying the amount of death that was going to take place. When the coronavirus numbers are finally reported in earnest, Americans are going to be frustrated by what has taken place.
Dr. Birx and Chris Murray are in agreement but that does not mean that the American people have to fall in line. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is going to come with a wide range of issues that extend well beyond the coronavirus pandemic itself. American hospitals do not have the capacity to handle all of the cases that they are currently stuck dealing with.
The death toll estimates are meant to help these hospitals to close the gap. There are a number of strategies that can be implemented as a means of mitigating this gap as well. Whether hospitals choose to reduce their non-COVID-19 related services or they would rather increase their capacity on a temporary basis, there is no shortage of options available at the current moment.
Peak volumes have not even been reached yet and this is news that can be disconcerting to medical facilities that are unable to handle the swell. The excess demand that is being placed on hospitals may be more damaging than the virus itself. This is something that needs to be addressed before it is too late.
The social distancing guidelines have also been established as a means of reducing the strain that is being placed on hospitals. These measures need to be implemented and enforced, so that America can mitigate the number of deaths that take place. Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci’s estimates are based on a worst-case scenario projection.
The best-case scenario is well within our grasp, if we make the right decisions going forward. America as a whole is caught between a rock and a hard place. Trump can either shut the nation down and risk tanking the economy. Or, he can keep things open and risk furthering the pandemic. This is not an easy decision to make for anyone to make.
We do not know why anyone would pass judgement on what is taking place right now. Would they have any better luck at a time like this? This is unprecedented territory for anyone to deal with, let alone a president who has yet to encounter a global pandemic. President Trump is trying to thread a very difficult needle and we do not envy him whatsoever.
Compared to licensed capacity and average annual occupancy rates, excess demand from COVID-19 at the peak of the pandemic in the second week of April is predicted to be 64,175 (95% UI 7,977 to 251,059) total beds and 17,309 (95% UI 2,432 to 57,584) ICU beds. At the peak of the pandemic, ventilator use is predicted to be 19,481 (95% UI 9,767 to 39,674). The date of peak excess demand by state varies from the second week of April through May. We estimate that there will be a total of 81,114 deaths (95% UI 38,242 to 162,106) from COVID-19 over the next 4 months in the US. Deaths from COVID-19 are estimated to drop below 10 deaths per day between May 31 and June 6.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
In addition to a large number of deaths from COVID-19, the epidemic in the US will place a load well beyond the current capacity of hospitals to manage, especially for ICU care. These estimates can help inform the development and implementation of strategies to mitigate this gap, including reducing non-COVID-19 demand for services and temporarily increasing system capacity. These are urgently needed given that peak volumes are estimated to be only three weeks away. The estimated excess demand on hospital systems is predicated on the enactment of social distancing measures in all states that have not done so already within the next week and maintenance of these measures throughout the epidemic, emphasizing the importance of implementing, enforcing, and maintaining these measures to mitigate hospital system overload and prevent deaths.
No matter what decision he makes, people are sure to disagree with it. That comes with the territory, though. A president is never going to have universal approval. They have to make decisions that are going to be second-guessed at all times. No matter what side of the aisle you are currently sitting on, you have to admit that the president is doing the best that he can with the information that is being provided to him.
The news outlets constantly showcase their bias when they blame President Trump for issues that are not even his fault to begin with. If you give them another week or two, they will probably start blaming him for the Chicago Fire. All jokes aside, the death toll estimates are alarming and we hope that Americans are taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously going forward. We must all come together to make sure that the best-case scenario comes to fruition.