Coronavirus death toll could reach up to 1.7 million in US, according to worst case scenarios

Beyond deaths, pandemic could greatly overburden US health system

Clark Mindock
New York
Sunday 15 March 2020 13:23 GMT
Donald Trump says he will 'most likely' be tested for coronavirus

Worst-case scenario predictions for the coronavirus pandemic say that between 160 and 214 million people could become infected in the United States, in an epidemic that could last months or even over a year.

The scenarios were projected based on US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention data, which was analysed by teams to see how the virus might impact the United States and what could stop it.

Experts who reviewed the data said that the epidemic could last that long in part because outbreaks could be staggered across communities in the country, and projections find that between 200,000 and 1.7 million people could die, according to the New York Times.

Additionally, between 2.4 million and 21 million people could require hospitalisation — a figure that dwarfs the 925,000 staffed hospital beds currently available in the country, and the less than 10 per cent of that that is available for the critically ill.

The worst case scenarios were based on estimates of how transmittable the virus is, and how severe the illness caused by the virus can be.

The CDC data was reviewed by 50 teams of experts, including epidemic experts from universities across the world who were tasked with determining what could happen in the US.

So far, there have been 2,174 confirmed cases in the United States, including 47 deaths, according to data on the outbreak compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The outbreak has led to global market panic, and the declaration of a state of emergency in the United States by Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has also implemented a travel ban on European travellers coming to the United States for the next month.

The epicentre of the outbreak in the US has been Washington State, with a high number of cases being reported in New York as well.

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