The recent uptick in coronavirus cases across the United States has emergency physicians fearing it could represent the start of a “dreaded second wave.”
“We are all seeing increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients who are coming into our ERs, who are getting really sick, requiring hospitalization and even intensive care,” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room physician and Brown University associate professor, told CNN’s Erica Hill.
“We are all deeply afraid that this is the beginning of that dreaded second wave,” she said.
The physician’s grim warning comes a day after health officials reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases in a day in almost two months.
A total of 57,420 new US cases were reported on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That is the most cases reported in a single day since August 14, when there were 64,601 new cases.
Friday’s surge of cases marks the third consecutive day of 50,000+ reported cases in the US, according to Johns Hopkins. The last time the US reported three consecutive days of more than 50,000 cases was also in mid-August.
So far on Saturday, there have been 16,241 new cases and 202 new deaths reported, the Johns Hopkins data shows.
The true number of coronavirus deaths in the United States is well over a quarter million, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Saturday during CNN’s town hall, “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears.”
Frieden, who served as CDC director under President Barack Obama, said a lot of the confusion about Covid-19 mortality rates is the result of the way deaths are listed on death certificates.
“If you die from cancer, and you also have diabetes, you still died from cancer,” Frieden explained. “If you died from Covid, and you also had diabetes, you died from Covid.”
“Covid does affect older people much, much more than younger people, and many older people have lots of other health problems, so that ends up on the death certificate,” Frieden said.
US could reach 400,000 deaths by February
The US coronavirus death toll could almost double to about 400,000 by February, an influential model predicts.
The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, projects that daily deaths in the US will peak at about 2,300 in mid-January.
The latest forecast projects 394,693 US coronavirus deaths by February 1, 2021. The current US death toll stands at 213,954, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
For comparison, Friday’s US death toll was 990, according to Johns Hopkins.
The new projections are based on current conditions. If the US eases social distancing mandates, the number of deaths could be 502,852 by February 1, the model says.
Florida, which over the summer became the country’s hotspot, is “ripe for another large outbreak,” an infectious disease expert told CNN. Late last month, the state cleared