U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Could Be Highest in the World Within a Week

Cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. continue to dominate the global count, with more than 337,900 cases and nearly 9,600 fatalities, as of Monday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. The country's death toll could surpass Italy's and be the highest in the world within a week, according to the latest projections.

While the death rates in Italy and Spain have shown signs of declining, the daily death toll in the U.S. has been on a sharp rising trend, having increased exponentially over the course of the past few weeks.

By around the 31st day since 10 deaths were first reported, the death toll is projected to reach around 10,000 in the U.S., according to data from the Financial Times (FT) reported on Sunday.

Currently, Italy has the highest number of fatalities in the world, with at least 15,887 deaths confirmed as of Monday. The country's death toll is projected to reach nearly 18,000 by the 40th day since 10 fatalities were recorded.

The U.S. death count has been doubling nearly every three days. This would mean that by the 34th day since 10 deaths were reported, the death count is projected to reach nearly 20,000. By around the 37th day, it's predicted to hit nearly 40,000 and nearly 80,000 by around the 40th day, according to the data from the FT.

The average daily death count in the U.S. over a week has overtaken that of Italy's from around 15 days since three daily deaths were first recorded. The U.S. reported an average of about 200 daily deaths, while Italy saw around 175 on average on the 15th day mark, according to the latest figures from the FT reported on Sunday.

The average daily death toll in New York state alone, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., overtook Italy's at an earlier stage of the outbreak, from less than five days since three daily deaths were recorded, the FT reports. At around the 15th day mark, New York state reported 500 average daily deaths, while Lombardy, Italy's worst-hit region, saw about 250 average daily deaths.

By around the 18th day since three daily deaths were recorded, the U.S. saw an average of nearly 350 daily fatalities, a nearly 75 percent increase in deaths in three days. Italy saw an average of nearly 250 daily deaths on the 18th day, a 43 percent increase over three days.

On the 20th day since three daily deaths were recorded, the fatality rate appeared to drop further in Italy to a 40 percent increase over two days, reporting an average daily death toll of nearly 350. The U.S. saw its daily death count rise to nearly 600, marking a 71 percent rise in deaths in two days, according to the FT.

Body bag, coronavirus, medical staff, NYC, April
Medical staff move bodies from the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center to a refrigerated truck on April 2, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Getty Images

Fast forward to around the 23rd day since three daily deaths were reported and the average daily death toll in the U.S. was nearly double that of Italy. The U.S. reported an average daily death count of nearly 1,000, while Italy reported an average of around 500 on the same day, the FT reports.

The average daily death count in Italy is projected to hover between 750-800 over the next two weeks, which is still lower than the current average daily death toll in the U.S. of nearly 1,000.

The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News on Sunday: "This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized. It's going to be happening all over the country."

He added that "there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days."

The COVID-19 virus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 1.28 million people across at least 183 countries and regions. Over 270,200 people have recovered while more than 70,400 have died, as of Monday.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Coronavirus COVID-19 United States Statista
Spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.