61,000 could die in US: White House Response Coordinator
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61,000 could die in US: White House Response Coordinator

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Washington, Apr 9:White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, during the daily briefing on Thursday said that models available to US health experts now project that mortality due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will be at around 61,000 people, significantly lower than earlier forecasts.

"They have consistently decreased the mortality from over almost 90,000, down to 81,000 and now to 61,000," Birx said adding "That is modeled on what America is doing, that’s what is happening." The analysis, which is publicly available, paints a grim picture of what's to come in the US, even with social distancing in place.

During the presser, President Donald Trump said the United States has a very good chance of beating "very substantially" earlier projections of 100,000 - 240,000 deaths. The analysis relies on data from Italy, China and the United States, using past experiences to predict the future.

Like many models, the projections are imperfect, but the researchers behind the project still came to an unsettling conclusion: "Even with social distancing measures enacted and sustained, the peak demand for hospital services due to the COVID-19 pandemic is likely going to exceed capacity substantially."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the same briefing gave an update about the State Department's efforts on the COVID-19 front.

Pompeo said 50,000 Americans have been repatriated since January because of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that thousands of Americans are still stranded overseas.

The Secretary also told reporters that the United States is re-evaluating its financial contribution to the World Health Organization.

On Tuesday, Trump said the WHO failed to take appropriate action to address the COVID-19 outbreak in its early stages and that US funding to the agency would be put on hold.

The United States has more than 424,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 14,500 deaths due to the disease as of Wednesday evening, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University. (UNI)

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