As U.S. Passes 150,000 Cornovirus Deaths, Experts At John Hopkins Call For Reset In National Response

CNN/ Newswire | 7/31/2020, 12:53 p.m.
The United States on Wednesday surpassed 150,000 recorded Covid-19 deaths -- a milestone that comes as the country’s number of ...
Dr. Anthony Fauci

The United States on Wednesday surpassed 150,000 recorded Covid-19 deaths -- a milestone that comes as the country’s number of daily coronavirus deaths is the highest it›s been since the spring.

The first death in the US was reported on February 29. The country reached 50,000 deaths 54 days later on April 23 and 34 days later on May 27 crossed 100,000 deaths. It has taken 63 days to add another 50,000 to reach the 150,000 mark.

The country’s coronavirus death toll was 150,090 as of Wednesday afternoon -- more than a fifth of the world›s 662,000-plus recorded deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“I think the fact that we as a country have not been able to get our arms around this, have not prioritized preventing those deaths is all that much more maddening. And so, for me it’s frustration, it’s sadness. And a resolve to try to figure out how we prevent the next 150,000,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“I think we can but we’re really going to have to work for it,” he added.

Some states are seeing their highest death tolls. California on Wednesday reported 197 Covid-related deaths in a single day, according to state Department of Public Health. That total far outpaces the previous high of 159, recorded just last week.

Florida reported a record 216 deaths on Wednesday.

Nationwide, the seven-day moving average of daily deaths rose above 1,000 on Tuesday -- the first time since June 2.

And in 29 states, average number of daily deaths were at least 10% higher over the previous week, accord- ing to Johns Hopkins data.

Disease trends in the US are mixed: Deaths are increasing and hospitalizations are at or near their peak levels, though new, daily reported infections are declining slightly.

But health experts have warned the death rate likely would rise as it is now, as a lagging consequence of a large spike in cases weeks earlier especially in the South and West.

Infectious disease experts say the country is at a critical juncture, as debates about how and whether to reopen schools for in-person learning rumble on.

Case rates rose as businesses reopened and distancing rules relaxed in late spring, and those wanting more normalcy soon should get more disciplined now by wearing masks, limiting outdoor dining and social gatherings, and closing bars, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

“It’s not going to spontaneously come down,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday in a call with several governors about the pandemic.

US Should Reset, Johns Hopkins Experts Say

The United States needs to re- start its response with policy actions at the federal, state and local levels to get control of the pandemic, scholars at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security said in a report.

“Unlike many countries in the world, the United States is not currently on course to get control of this epidem- ic,” the report says. “It is time to reset.”

The report also gives recom- mendations about personal protective equipment, epidemiological data, fund- ing research agendas, contact tracing, identifying best practices for improving public health response and developing policies and practices to protect group institutions.