WASHINGTON – A senior health official warned on Saturday that the US could see a dramatic increase in coronavirus deaths in severely affected areas such as New York, Detroit and Louisiana over the next few weeks.
Data shows that in New York alone, several hundred people could die a day in the next six or seven days, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York estimated up to 700 a day when the peak was reached, she said.
Birx said of New York, Detroit, and Louisiana, “They predict in these three hotspots that they will all meet in the next six to seven days.”
“Unfortunately, it will be a very deadly time,” said President Donald Trump at a press conference in the White House.
Birx said places like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C. are also worrying because they are “starting to go on this top” of the coronavirus mortality curve.
“This is the time not to go to a grocery store, not to go to the pharmacy, but to do everything to protect your family and friends,” she said.
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Birx and other health officials’ grim predictions came as the coronavirus death toll in the United States rose to another record pace early Saturday. Nearly 1,200 people died within 24 hours when federal rescue workers tried to answer desperate requests for breathing apparatus from dozens of states.
The number of confirmed cases in the US has now exceeded 297,600 and 8,000 deaths have been reported. Worldwide, more than 1.7 million cases have been confirmed and 63,000 deaths reported.
New York has more deaths than any other area in the United States. 1,905 deaths were reported on Saturday.
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However, officials warned that numbers in the US would deteriorate in the next few days.
Birx said that while the number of deaths is expected to increase, the number of cases in severely affected areas could actually decrease.
“What we see today are the people who were infected two to three weeks ago,” she said.
If social distancing and other mitigation efforts have been successful in New York, “and we believe this will work, the cases will gradually decrease, but mortality will lag behind,” said Birx.
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This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Coronavirus: Trump, Pence, Birx warn of an increase in deaths next week