CDC Chief Says COVID Deaths Will Fall Next Week
With coronavirus cases lighting up much of the country, scientists have had their eye on many numbers, but one stands out in particular: the death rate. The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, spoke yesterday with Dr. Howard Bauchner of the Journal of the American Medical Association about that number—and why he feels it will start finally going in the right direction after weeks of going up.
The Death Rate Should Drop Next Week
"You and I are going to see the cases continue to drop. And then hopefully this week and next week, you're going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop again." he said. "I think we're going to start to see a decline in mortality across the country now next week as we continue to get control of these cases." He added that it takes time for mitigation measures—like wearing face masks, social distancing, and the closing down of some venues, as was done in hotspots like Florida, Arizona and Texas—to show their true impact. "It is important to understand these interventions are going to have a lag, that lag is going to be three to four weeks," Redfield said. "Hopefully this week and next week you're going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop." His thoughts come at a time when many COVID-19 patients are experiencing long-lasting symptoms even after the virus has passed—see these Sure Signs You've Had Coronavirus.
Nearly 175,000 Americans Have Died from COVID-19
A decline in the death rate would reverse the recent trend. "So far, more than 5.5 million Americans have been infected and at least 174,255 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University," reports CNN. "The country's seven-day average for daily deaths has topped 1,000 for at least 24 days in a row." Although Redfield predicts that number will go down, he added that there were still more daily cases than he'd like. "I like to see us down into 10,000 cases and obviously see fewer and fewer jurisdictions that we would consider in the red zone."
The CDC Forecasts Deaths Rising in Only One State—Colorado
The CDC just released its weekly forecast of deaths rising. In previous weeks, the list has included up to 10 states. This week it has only one. "This week's national ensemble forecast predicts that 4,200 to 10,600 new COVID-19 deaths will be reported during the week ending September 5 and that 180,000 to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date," reports the agency. "State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming."
Redfield, for his part, strongly encourages face mask use and avoiding crowds to keep the numbers plummeting—especially in Middle America, which could go either way.
"Middle America right now is getting stuck," he said. "That is why it's so important for Middle America to recognize the mitigation that we talked about … it's for Middle America too, the Nebraskas, the Oklahomas."
"We don't need to have a third wave in the heartland right now," he said. "We need to prevent that."
How You Can Avoid COVID-19
"We don't have to close retail, you don't have to lock down," said Redfield. "We really just need to wear face coverings when we can't social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds. Particularly obviously the overcrowding that occurs in bars and indoor restaurants, and we can get this outbreak under control." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.