Expert: 100,000 more Americans could die of COVID-19 by inauguration

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The coronavirus pandemic has passed another grim milestone.

The U.S. has now recorded 10 million cases of the virus.

The record came soon after President-elect Joe Biden announced on Saturday that the pandemic will be his number one priority when he takes office in January.

“We are entering probably the two hardest months of the pandemic. I really do believe that we’re in for some very, very difficult weeks and months ahead. I expect that unless something urgently is done, we’re gonna have an additional 100,000 Americans die between now and inauguration day,” said Dr.
Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health on KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert" program Monday.

Dr. Jha says that while that can be prevented, the virus is currently spreading out of control.

“There’s a lot of infection around the country, probably more infection now than at any point in the pandemic,” he said. “One can’t be 100 percent sure, but at least based on everything I’m looking at, all the data, I think we probably have more infections in America right now than we did at the height of the pandemic’s first days in April.”

While President Trump has often claimed that cases are rising simply because the amount of testing has increased and is uncovering more cases, Dr. Jha says that alone cannot explain the current surge.

Infections are increasing in nearly every state, including about 15-20 states where testing has actually decreased. The amount of hospitalizations and deaths from the virus is also increasing across the country, a number that rises and falls independent of testing.

“This is not an issue of testing,” said Dr. Jha. “In fact, really high quality and ubiquitous testing helps you catch people who are infected early and helps you quarantine them and isolate them so that they don’t infect others. We need more testing in America, not less.”

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