As COVID-19 cases spike, another 100,000 US deaths are possible

The United States could see another 100,000 Americans die from COVID-19 by September, according to the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who made that prediction this week.

Professor Ronald Waldman of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University told FOX 5 NY that prediction is not an exaggeration. And Dr. Rachael Piltch-Loeb of the NYU School of Global Public Health called it a "scary number to hear" but "certainly possible." 

Top health experts across are sending out warnings as the country is expanding its reopening. COVID-19 cases are increasing in 21 states, including Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida. Many of these states opened much faster than in the New York area.

"We need caution. We have to beware, we need warnings," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "The numbers are good, everything we've done has been exactly right up until now."

In his Thursday briefing, the governor pointed out that 14 states reported their highest number of COVID cases. 

"And if you look at what's going on, it tends to be after the reopening," Cuomo said. "You open that value, you increase the activity, you will see it spread."

Waldman of the Milken Institute said that health professionals don't know for sure why some states are seeing spikes while others are not but they have their suspicions.

"We're talking about Memorial Day weekend, basically, now that's being reflected in the numbers," Waldman said. 

NYU's Piltch-Loeb said that experts will understand the current surges more clearly when they determine exactly who is getting the virus, such as nursing home residents, factory workers, and so on. 

"In Texas, in Florida, in Arizona, in theory, we may be having an older population who is more at risk for this virus," Piltch-Loeb said.

So what should the New York area learn from the current spike in cases across the country as we reopen?

"'Caution' is the word of the day," Waldman said. "We should not go too fast."

Public health experts also said that we may see a surge in coronavirus cases in New York and other states where massive protests took place after the death of George Floyd.


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