1.7 million could die in US alone, say estimates of worst case scenario on COVID-19

Estimates mushroom forcing more urgent precautions to be employed as the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly

With the rising death tolls of COVID-19, statistical models to project the numbers of infections and casualties are being designed. One such worst-case scenario model says that almost a million Americans could die of COVID-19 if necessary actions are not taken.

Models built by experts say this, even in an optimistic case, based on studying the infection's spread in China and the US.

CDC's Model

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) model estimated that between 160-210 million Americans could contract the disease, with deaths ranging from 200,000 to as much as 1.7 million over the course of the epidemic. This was based on mortality data and current hospital capacity. Further findings state that 21 million might need hospitalization, in the midst of scarcity of hospital beds.

It found that around 21 million people might need hospitalization, a daunting figure in a nation with just about 925,000 hospital beds. "Such modeling work is commonly used as a planning tool during outbreaks and can help inform the public health response, as well as other policies (e.g. economic policies) to mitigate the potential impact on the United States," said a CDC spokesman in a statement to The Hill.

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One more model by a global nonprofit 'Resolve to Save Lives' and the Council on Foreign Relations found finds that if half of Americans contract the virus, potential deaths could vary from 163,500 (if the virus is as deadly as seasonal influenza) to more than 1.6 million. (if the COVID-19's mortality rate is just one percent).

Global Tolls, alarming

Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimated that between 20-60 percent of the world could contract COVID-19. Supposing that the virus kills 1 percent of those who contract the novel coronavirus, between 14 million and 42 million people would be at risk. Further estimating that mortality rates would be higher in countries where health systems are overrun like Iran and Italy.

The CDC also said that newer data was arriving. The spokesman added that the estimated data from other countries might not be applicable to the US.

Another estimate reported by Nymag, Dr. James Lawler, infectious disease and public health expert, University of Nebraska Medical Center, projects that 96 million would contract COVID-19 while 5 million would need hospitalization while 480,000 Americans could be killed. Until now, about 145,369 have been infected by the novel coronavirus with more than 5,420 deaths. However, 71,694 have recovered so far.

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