The US could see an explosion of Covid-19 cases as fall and winter set in, one expert says, joining a chorus of health officials who have warned about the challenges of the coming months.
Two things will likely help drive that expected winter surge, according to Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
“First, as case counts have come down in some states, we tend to see that people become less careful, they tend to have more contact,” he said. “But then the most important effect is the seasonality of the virus, that people go indoors, transmission happens more.”
According to the IHME model, the country is seeing about 765 daily deaths from Covid-19, but that number could jump to 3,000 daily deaths by late December.
More than 203,000 Americans have already died from the virus since the start of the pandemic and more than 7 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 24 states are now reporting a rise in new cases compared to the previous week, mostly across the US heartland and Midwest, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
Murray’s warning is one that’s been given by several other health officials in recent months. Over the summer, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director warned the fall and winter could be “one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health.”
And this week, leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci urged American cities and counties to prepare for “the challenge” of fall and winter.