As the US rushes to manufacture and approve a coronavirus vaccine, the number of infections and deaths continue to climb at an alarming rate. As of Tuesday, the deadly virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans since it was first detected nearly eight months ago, surpassing the number of American soldiers that were killed during the Vietnam War and World War 1 combined.
As the number of cases continue to climb, officials are becoming increasingly worried. In the past week alone, there has been an average of 43,300 new cases each day, which amounts to a 19% increase from the prior week. Meanwhile, the number of deaths from the virus have averaged out to 750 per day, a grim statistic that is raising concern that the pandemic could exponentially accelerate if infections surge during the winter as previously anticipated.
According to New York City Health + Hospitals senior director Dr. Syra Madad, focusing on the number of COVID-19 deaths alone does not provide a thorough analysis of the dire situation. Given that many researchers are only in the beginning stages of determining the long-term effects of the virus, the current death toll of 200,000 most likely underestimates the actual number of deaths stemming directly or indirectly from the virus.
One significant problem that the US faces in terms of mitigation attempts are the country’s universities and colleges. According to a Bloomberg interview with Gavin Yamey, a physician at Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, the US is likely headed for a third wave of the virus, which will stem from the reopening of post-secondary schools across the country. As students migrated to all corners of the country for the fall semester, many ventured off-campus to attend bars and parties. As a result, schools have been struggling to keep infections contained, and are running out of room to house those who have tested positive.
Many universities and colleges are planning to end their semesters short at the November holiday, prompting students to disperse across the country and return home. This impeding event will most likely be catastrophic in terms of infection rates, which will already be accelerated by the approaching winter flu season. Nonetheless, many states across the country have been moving to reopen their economies and lift restrictions. In fact, Texas, which has more than 14,900 coronavirus deaths and 698,000 cases, is planning to reopen additional businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, and gyms.
Thus far, the highest concentration of coronavirus cases and deaths have been across the Sun Belt states, including California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas. In fact, those four states alone accounted for nearly 25% of all cases in the US as of last week. With such grim statistics, the US is 11th on the list in terms of deaths per capita, following Brazil, Peru, Spain and the UK. In addition, the US accounts for approximately 21% of coronavirus deaths in the world, even though it holds only 4% of the world’s population, putting it at the top of the list in terms of the most deadliest outbreaks.
Information for this briefing was found via Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.