US coronavirus cases hit 100,000
The United States now has more than 100,000 known cases of coronavirus, passing a new milestone, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
The mark comes shortly after the United States this week moved into first place in the world, passing China and Italy, in the number of known cases.
The outbreak is expected to only get worse in the coming days and weeks, as the upward trajectory continues. The U.S. is now adding more than 14,000 new cases per day, according to The New York Times tracker, a number that has continued to rise.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, President Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, warned on Twitter that the outbreak is “likely to be national in scope.”
There are a range of concerning new hot spots that he pointed to, including Chicago and Detroit.
A University of Washington study released Thursday projected that U.S. deaths could total 81,000 by July.
The study projected that the peak need for hospital beds in the U.S. will be April 14, at around 232,000 beds, about 50,000 more than capacity, causing a crunch for hospitals.
Governors across the country are scrambling to increase hospital capacity, find more protective equipment for their health workers, who are reporting dangerous shortages, and get more ventilators, the life-saving machines to allow seriously ill patients to breathe that are also in short supply.
President Trump has expressed eagerness to ease up on restrictions that have closed businesses and urged people to stay home, but experts are warning that those measures need to remain in place until the outbreak turns a corner and starts to get better.
Gottlieb wrote on Twitter that if the response is aggressive, he thinks cases nationally could peak in late April — later than the University of Washington’s projection for peak use of hospital beds in mid-April.
Experts say that a key factor is dramatically increasing testing capacity, so that blunt force measures like keeping everyone at home can be replaced with more targeted identification and isolation of sick people.
“We need to test many, many people, even those without symptoms,” two health professors, Aaron Carroll and Ashish Jha, wrote in The Atlantic. “Testing will allow us to isolate the infected so they can’t infect others. We need to be vigilant, and willing to quarantine people with absolute diligence.”