Story at a glance

  • Ashish Jha says that current data forecasts another 100,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus.
  • This comes as public health experts worry about an uptick in cases as states continue reopening and protesters gather in mass demonstrations.

A public health expert is forecasting 100,000 more coronavirus-related deaths in the United States by September, as states continue to reopen.

Speaking to CNN, Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said, “If you look at the data, if you look at where we are as a country, between 800 and 1,000 Americans are dying every day.”

Jha explains that even when using the lower estimates, it equates to 25,000 deaths per month. Using this model, a low estimate of 75,000 more U.S. deaths would be recorded by September.

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Jha then predicted that even if the U.S. is able to keep the current death rate of the coronavirus flat, he still anticipates about 200,000 total deaths by September. 

"I think that is catastrophic. I think that is not something we have to be fated to live with," Jha told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "We can change the course. We can change course today, but we have to make that decision to do it differently.”

Currently, the U.S. leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 2 million, per Johns Hopkins data. The current death toll sits at more than 113,000 due to the virus.

Jha pointed out that these predictions are only through September, and that the pandemic won’t be over at that time. He says it is concerning to look at the data and think about where the U.S. could be through the end of 2020.

This estimate comes as multiple states are reporting spikes in cases, threatening health care apparatuses across the country. 


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Jha noted that the U.S. is the only major country in the world that began to reopen without reducing cases to a safe point.

“We are also one of the few advanced countries that doesn’t really have a robust testing and tracing infrastructure. Put all of that together, and we have made this whole situation far more risky,” he said.

Jha advised that we can reopen safely, but maintaining social distancing and wearing masks in public are two critical practices Americans should do.

He also advocated to put pressure on the federal government to step up testing and tracing efforts.

“I can’t understand why the federal government hasn’t taken that on as a bigger priority,” Jha concluded. 

Blitzer noted that at least a dozen states are seeing spikes in coronavirus hospitalizations. Arizona recently advised its hospitals to prepare for surge plans as they reach capacity from new cases, while South Carolina’s Department of Health issued a statement with other agencies imploring residents to continue social distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hygiene.

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Published on Jun 11, 2020