Story at a glance
- Columbia University epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman told The Washington Post an estimated 3.6 million people in the U.S. have coronavirus and are contagious.
- The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated about 3.2 million Americans contracted the virus since Election Day.
- More than 154,000 new cases and 1,160 new deaths are being reported every day across the country.
Infectious diseases experts tracking the COVID-19 pandemic estimate more than 3 million people in the U.S. — close to 1 percent of the population — are infected with the coronavirus and could be contagious, according to The Washington Post.
Columbia University epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman told the news outlet his team’s coronavirus model projects 3.6 million people across the nation have active coronavirus infections and are capable of spreading the virus. He said that’s a 34 percent week-to-week increase following a 36 percent increase seen in the previous seven-day average.
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The epidemiologist said the 3.6 million cases do not include people who recently contracted the virus and are not yet contagious. Cases are expected to increase over the holiday season.
“It’s bad; it’s really, really bad,” Shaman told the Post. “We’re running into Thanksgiving now and that’s only going to make it worse. We’re going to go through a lot of people being infected between now and the end of the year, unfortunately.”
Meanwhile, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) on Tuesday estimated about 3.2 million people have become infected since Election Day. The Washington Post notes that number is much higher than the nearly 2 million cases tracked by the news outlet over the same period using state health department data. IHME estimated 245,000 people would contract the virus on Tuesday alone.
The estimates come as the U.S. is experiencing a record-breaking surge in cases and hospitalizations heading into the colder months.
More than 154,000 new cases and 1,160 new deaths are being reported every day across the country. Hospitalizations on Tuesday hit a single-day record, with 76,830 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to The Covid Tracking Project. More than 11.4 million total cases have been confirmed with nearly a quarter million deaths.
Researchers from the IHME estimate the death toll could nearly double by March 1 to 438,941.
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