Latest IHME predictions show 731K COVID deaths in the U.S. by April

US coronavirus death toll could reach 731,000 by April if states ease mandates but up to 45,000 lives could be saved by vaccine rollout, IHME predictions show as a record 120,000 patients face Christmas in hospital

  • New projections from a leading coronavirus model predict up to 731,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 by April 1 if states begin to ease mandates and a vaccine isn’t rolled out as planned 
  • Yet more than 45,000 lives could be saved if the vaccine is distributed faster than planned and there could be 49,000 fewer deaths from the virus with universal mask-wearing 
  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said the nation’s mask-wearing is now at 74 percent
  • With a vaccine rollout and continued mandates, the IHME still projects a death toll of 567,195 by April 1
  • Nationwide spike appears to be falling, with a decline in new cases and hospitalizations in the Midwest
  • Yet the country still managed to break a new record for hospitalizations on Christmas Eve 
  • More than 120,000 Americans with COVID-19 are now spending Christmas in hospital
  • More than 18.6million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and there have been 329,022 deaths

New projections from a leading coronavirus model predict that up to 731,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 by April 1 if states begin to lift their mandates around masks and social distancing.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released its latest projections for COVID-19 deaths, showing that the death toll could reach 731,151 without a vaccine rollout and other health measures.

Yet more than 33,000 lives could be saved if the vaccine is distributed as planned, and 45,000 Americans saved if a swifter vaccine rollout is achieved.

If the country manages to increase its use of masks to 95 percent, there could also be 49,000 fewer deaths from the virus by April 1. 

The use of masks around the country has already increased to 74 percent, according to the IHME.

The model currently projects that there will be a death toll of 567,195 by April 1 with mandates and vaccines continuing as planned.

It comes as the nationwide spike appears to be dampening down, with a decline in new cases and hospitalizations in the Midwest.

Yet the country still managed to break a new record for hospitalizations on Christmas Eve, despite a dozen states having only partial or missing updates. COVID-19 hospitalizations have now reached over 120,000 for the first time.  

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released its latest projections for COVID-19 deaths, showing that the death toll could reach 731,151 without a vaccine rollout and other health measures, pictured above along the top red line. Yet more than 45,000 lives could be saved if the vaccine is distributed faster than planned (blue line) and 49,000 fewer deaths from the virus by April 1 with universal mask wearing (pictured along the green line)

The nationwide spike appears to be dropping, with a decline in new cases and hospitalizations in the Midwest. California and the South are still showing troubling rises in cases, with the Golden State alone recording 300,000 new cases this week

Maryland Cremation Services transporter Morgan Dean-McMillan moves a suspected Covid-19 positive body to her van on Wednesday. There have been 329,022 deaths from the virus nationwide as of Christmas Eve

The IHME model has warned that no vaccine rollout will result in tens of thousands more deaths. Pictured, a vaccine is administered to a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond Heights, Missouri on Thursday

Medical staff members perform a procedure for hypothermia treatment on a patient in the COVID-19 ICU on Christmas Eve in United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. The state is still experiencing a high rise in cases 

December has already been the deadliest month of the pandemic. Pictured, funeral home transporters in Maryland

Pictured, Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a Covid-19 victim to his van from the hospital’s morgue in Baltimore on Christmas Eve. There have been an average of 2,506 daily deaths reported this month

California and the South are also still showing troubling rises in cases, with the Golden State alone recording 300,000 new cases this week. 

Data is expected to be uneven in the coming days as reports and testing are delayed due to holiday closures. 

Nationwide, more than 18.6million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and there have been 329,022 deaths.

The startling new projections from the IHME came as the U.S. reached a more encouraging milestone on Wednesday with one million Americans having received their first shot of a coronavirus vaccine.

So far, Operation Warp Speed has distributed about 9.5 million doses as December became the nation’s deadliest month of the pandemic.

The 3,379 deaths reported on Thursday pushed December’s total to 57,638 COVID-19 fatalities so far, for an average of 2,506 deaths reported per day this month

And, as well as showing a concerning new culminative death toll for the country by April, the IHME projections also outlines how daily deaths could rise to close to 5,500 if mandates are lifted. 

The projection with mandates and vaccine rollout remaining in place still sees daily deaths climbing higher to a peak of 3,800 by early February before the numbers decrease again.

The IHME projections show that universal mask wearing would result in the least daily deaths, with a more dramatic decline to 460 fatalities a day by April 21 if it is achieved.

Mandate easing could result iin 1,800 deaths a day continuing in April, the model states.

December became the nation’s deadliest month of the pandemic recording 57,638 deaths so far this month

The Midwest is showing a decline in average deaths each day, according to new data issued by the  COVID Tracking Project on Thursday. However, they warned that the holiday closures were causing some delay in data

The country managed to break a new record for hospitalizations on Christmas Eve, despite a dozen states having only partial or missing updates. COVID-19 hospitalizations have now reached over 120,000 for the first time, pictured second right

California, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas are still seeing sharp increases in cases, accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s cases in the week beginning December 17 as new cases in the Midwest begin to ease off

Yet there were hopeful signs that the virus is being beaten back in some parts of the country, according to a weekly update published by the COVID Tracking Project, which showed a drop in new cases and hospitalizations in the Midwest.

This region was also showing a decline in average deaths each day, according to new data issued by the Tracking project on Thursday. However, they warned that the holidays were causing some delay in data.

Seventeen states have seen sharp drops in the number of new cases reported since December 9, while every Midwestern state has reported fewer cases now than two weeks ago. 

The Northeast appears to have reached a plateau while the nation’s cases are now being driven by the western and southern states.

California, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas are still seeing sharp increases in cases, accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s cases in the week beginning December 17.

This is the highest it has been since August when the south was experiencing a southern surge.

California, Florida, and Texas are also among the country’s most populous states, with the Golden State recording an astounding 68 percent increase in cases since December 9.

The Latino community in California has been the most drastically effected during the pandemic, accounting for 56 percent of all cases.

In total 13 of 17 states in the South have also posted cases increases in the past two weeks. 

This week, states reported more than 6,000 deaths linked to nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities. California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania accounted for 29% of these deaths. Pictured, Maryland cremation services prepare to move a body

Pictured, the body of a coronavirus victim in transported in Maryland. Nationwide, there have been 329,022 COVID-19 deaths

A suspected Covid-19 positive body is seen inside Maryland Cremation Services in Maryland on Wednesday

And despite cases falling in the Midwest, it is still facing large number of cases in its long-term care facilities.

The COVID Tracking Project reports that the Midwest remains the epicenter of these outbreaks, as 13 states reported their most deadly week in long-term care facilities yet.

This week, states reported more than 6,000 deaths linked to nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities.

California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania accounted for 29 percent of these deaths.

Many states are hoping that this will be stopped once vaccine can begin being distributed in the homes by the end of the year.

The COVID Tracking Project reports that the Midwest remains the epicenter of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, as 13 states reported their most deadly week yet. This week, states reported more than 6,000 deaths linked to these facilities

On Thursday, the majority of states that updated their data today reported more than 500 new cases per million residents. Twenty reported a higher number of cases per capita than New York had at its spring peak, pictured

Nationally, there were 202,579 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the US on Thursday and 2,938 deaths.

Hospitalizations reached a new record of 120,151, a five percent increase on last week.

The seven-day average for hospitalizations also reached a new record of 116,316.

This week there 18,690 COVID-19 deaths nationwide —an average of 2,670 per day.

Even as the spike in cases lessens, many states are still showing troubling levels of infections among their residents.

On Thursday, the majority of states that updated their data today reported more than 500 new cases per million residents. 

Twenty reported a higher number of cases per capita than New York had at its spring peak.

The worst included Arkansas with had 1,062 new cases per million people and Californian with 989 new cases per million residents. 

On Thursday, California became the first state to record 2 million COVID-19 cases, reaching the milestone on Christmas Eve, as nearly the entire state was under a strict stay-at-home order and hospitals were flooded with the largest crush of cases since the pandemic began.

The country’s most populous state had recorded 2,010,157 infections as of Thursday afternoon. The California Health Department has not yet updated its daily figures. 

Close to 19,000 people were hospitalized in the state Wednesday, and models project the number could top 100,000 in a month – unimaginable for medical systems that are already running out of room. More than 23,000 people with COVID-19 have died in California, and the number is only expected to climb. 

The grim milestone comes as a COVID-19 crisis that health officials say stems from Thanksgiving gatherings strains the state’s medical system. 

The state has seen its number of cases climb exponentially in recent weeks, fueled largely by people who ignored warnings and held traditional Thanksgiving gatherings, health officials say. 

Soaring rates of hospitalizations and deaths have overwhelmed intensive care units and prompted hospitals to put emergency room patients in tents and treat others in offices and auditoriums.

Pleas to avoid social gatherings for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays rang with special desperation in Southern California. Los Angeles County is leading the surge, accounting for one-third of the state’s COVID-19 cases and nearly 40% of deaths. 

More than 9,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the county. 

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