WASHINGTON – The United States (US) is preparing for a critical week in which the death rate due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) will peak. The US recorded more than 355,000 confirmed cases of the corona virus, the most among other countries in the world, with a mortality rate exceeding 10,000.
“It’s going to be the peak hospitalization, peak ICU week and unfortunately, peak death week,” Admiral Brett Giroir, a physician and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” TV program on Monday.
The number of Covid-19 patients who are in poor condition in the US is reported to have doubled compared to Italy and Spain, the two countries with the highest mortality rates in the world. Hospitals suffer from a lack of supply of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and beds.
While New York City accounts for almost a third of U.S. coronavirus deaths, more than 90 percent of Americans are under stay-at-home orders.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday cited tentative signs the coronavirus outbreak was “flattening” in his state but warned against complacency.
To date, the total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide has reached 1,346,036, with almost 75,000 deaths.
‘LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!’
In Spain and Italy, which account for over 40% of the world’s fatalities, the death rate has been declining for several days and public discussion has turned to how and when to ease weeks of drastic curbs on personal and economic activity.
A University of Washington model, one of several cited by U.S. and some state officials, projected that the peak need for hospital beds in the United States would come on April 15, and that daily deaths would peak, at 3,130, on April 16.
President Donald Trump, whom critics have accused of playing down the epidemic and trying to rush an end to the devastating economic paralysis, on Monday tweeted “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!”
On Sunday, Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College in London who has helped shape the British government’s response, said he expected Britain’s epidemic to plateau in seven to 10 days.
“What’s critically important then is how quickly case numbers go down: do we see a long flat peak or do we, as we hope, see a much faster decline, and that really depends on how effective the current measures are,” he told the BBC.
Spain saw its daily deaths fall from Thursday’s peak of 950 to 637 on Monday, for a total of more than 13,000 deaths; Italy on Sunday reported 525 deaths, its lowest daily death toll in more than two weeks, for a total of more than 16,000.
As the numbers have flattened in Italy, there has been increasing discussion about rolling back a lockdown that has closed most businesses and slammed the brakes on an already fragile economy.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at the weekend that Spain’s lockdown would remain in place until April 26, but opened the door to easing some restrictions after Easter on April 12.