U.S. Projected to Have Highest Coronavirus Death Toll in the World Within Five Days

The novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., now the epicenter of the pandemic, has seen nearly 15,000 fatalities to date. The country is reportedly on track to have the world's highest death count within nearly five days, according to the latest projections.

The virus has infected nearly 1.5 million people across the globe, including more than 432,400 in the U.S. as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. Currently, Italy has the largest number of deaths in the world, with at least 17,669 fatalities. The country is projected to see its death toll surge to about 20,000 by around the 43rd day since 10 deaths were first reported, according to the a Financial Times analysis of available data sources.

The U.S. death toll has been doubling nearly every three days through the 27th day since the 10th death was first recorded. From around the 31st day to the 34th day, roughly the current national standing (with nearly 15,000 deaths reported nationwide), the death toll has been doubling closer to every four days, according to the FT analysis.

By around the 39th day (five days from now), the number of deaths is projected to climb to nearly 37,500 in the U.S. with the death toll increasing by about 7,500 per day between the 38th day and 42nd day. This figure would overtake Italy's death toll in five days.

Times Square, NYC, coronavirus, March 2020
Times Square is empty of crowds as people remain at home to stop the spread of coronavirus on March 29, 2020 in New York City. Getty Images

Health officials earlier this week warned Americans to brace for a surge in deaths this week. The U.S. saw its deadliest day yet earlier this week with nearly 2,000 casualties reported over 24 hours.

New York, New Jersey, Michigan and other parts of the country are expected to hit their peak number of deaths and hospitalizations this week, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health, warned on Monday.

"We may be seeing the worst upon us right now," Giroir said on NBC's Today show. He also noted that experts believe some parts of the country are "turning a corner because of all of the physical distancing that we're doing."

New York has been the worst-hit state in the nation, with at least 149,316 confirmed cases (including 81,803 infections in New York City), as of Wednesday. At least 6,268 have died across the state, including 4,571 in New York City.

But the state has shown signs of the outbreak slowing down, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo noted on Wednesday.

"We took dramatic actions in this state. New York pause program that closed down schools, businesses, social distancing, and it's working," Cuomo said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"It [the measures] is flattening the curve [of the number of infections] and we see that again today so far. Meaning that curve is flattening because we are flattening the curve by what we are doing. If we stop what we are doing, you will see that curve change. That curve is purely a function of what we do day in and day out."

The tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut has seen a combined total of over 8,000 deaths among the area's more than 207,000 infected people.

The COVID-19 virus, first reported in Wuhan, China, has spread to at least 184 countries and regions. More than 332,400 have recovered from infections, while over 88,900 have died.

Top 10 states with most COVID-19 deaths

  1. New York—at least 6,268 deaths, Cuomo confirmed on Wednesday;
  2. New Jersey—at least 1,504 deaths, according to the New Jersey state government website;
  3. Michigan—at least 959, according to the Michigan state government website;
  4. Louisiana—at least 652 deaths, according to the Louisiana Department of Health;
  5. California—at least 507 deaths, according to the Los Angeles Times;
  6. Massachusetts—at least 433 deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health;
  7. Washington at least 421, according to the state's health department;
  8. Illinois—at least 380 deaths, according to the latest report from the Illinois Department of Health;
  9. Georgia—at least 370 deaths, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health;
  10. Connecticut—at least 335, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

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

Coronavirus, update, April 8, Statista
The chart shows the spread of coronavirus cases across the U.S. as of April 8. 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.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Soo Kim is a Newsweek SEO Reporter is based in London, UK. She reports on various trends and lifestyle stories, from health, fitness and travel to psychology, relationships and family issues. She is also a South Korea expert who regularly covers Korean culture/entertainment for Newsweek, including the latest K-dramas, films and K-pop news, and is the author of the book How to Live Korean, which is available in eight languages. Soo also covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively from 2020 through 2021 after joining the general news desk of Newsweek in 2019 from the Daily Telegraph (a U.K. national newspaper) where she was a travel reporter/editor from 2010. She is a graduate of Binghamton University in New York and the journalism school of City University in London, where she earned a Masters in international journalism. Languages spoken: English and Korean.

Follow her on Twitter at @MissSooKim or Instagram at @miss.soo.kim

You can get in touch with Soo by emailing s.kim@newsweek.com

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