NEW YORK >> Grim coronavirus totals continue to mount.
On the same day the official total of U.S. COVID-19 cases hit the 2 million marker, a Harvard doctor warned that the national death toll could leap to 200,000 by autumn.
While some politicians, notably Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, believe the alarming tallies correlate to more expansive testing, Dr. Ashish Jha told “Today” that this assumption doesn’t jibe with increased hospitalization rates in at least nine states.
“That’s coming from just more people getting sick and needing hospital care,” the Harvard Global Health Institute director said today. “We’ve been so behind in our testing approach for months that we were missing most of the cases out there … . As testing has gotten better, we’ve identified more cases. Testing is a part of the story but certainly doesn’t explain the whole thing.”
As many states begin relaxing coronavirus shutdown restrictions after the coronavirus lockdown, many public health experts, including Jha, fear an upcoming second wave of infections. He told “Today” that the 200,000 death toll could be reached as early as September.
“This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine,” explained Jha. “This is not faded.”
Alarmingly, case totals have spiked in 21 states over the past week, reported NBC News.
In Florida and New Mexico, rates have zoomed up 40%; while in Arkansas and Utah and Arkansas, cases have ballooned a staggering 60%.
State officials of Arizona, where cases have leapt 93%, are urging medical centers to activate emergency plans, according to “Today.”
In light of the new numbers, White House Coronavirus Task Force point man, Dr. Anthony Fauci, called the COVID-19 pandemic his “worst nightmare … . Like oh, my goodness, when is it going to end?” he has said. “It really is very complicated. So we’re just at almost the beginning of really understanding.”
Today, the global tally of reported coronavirus cases surpassed 7.4 million with nearly 419,000 fatalities, according to health tracker Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S. alone, the death total has exceeded 113,000.