By Mike Weland
There are 1,440 minutes in every day. In a CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held this morning, a doctor told attendees that one American is now dying from a COVID-19 ailment each minute of every day.
And it’s expected to get worse before it gets better.
The CDC charts and forecasts COVID-19 death tolls week by week, starting with Week 1 at the beginning of 2020, ending at the time of this writing at week 47, which ended just over a week ago, then projecting out, to week 51 currently, with estimates derived using mathematical models.
Week 47 saw 10,266 Americans dead, and was on a four week rise after a major peak in week 16, when 16,716 died, the worst week of the pandemic in the United States thus far.
As the weather warmed with spring and summer, the death toll dropped to a low in Week 27 in July, when 4,092 Americans died. There was another upward peak in Week 31 in August, with 8,020 dying, the second record week until Week 46, when the U.S. lost 8,263 of her citizens.
The CDC is still waiting to finalize numbers for week 48, estimating that the number of dead will be 11,100.
That number is expected to continue to rise steadily through December to week 51, when an estimated 15,881 more Americans will die.
Week 51 is currently the last week forecast, but if the trend continues, and it’s expected to not only continue but increase in its upward trajectory following the surge in Thanksgiving travel, we should see the May record broken around the time we’re celebrating Christmas and preparing to ring in the New Year.
And in January, warm weather is still months away.
The death toll follows about three weeks behind the case count; if there’s an increase in cases confirmed this week, there is typically an uptick in fatalities around 21 days later, and vice versa.
There was a peak in confirmed new cases in August of 467,293 cases, then a slight slowdown until that record was broken with 474,441 new cases in week 43. From there the upswing steepened sharply, surpassing a million in week 46 and hitting 1,181,708 in Week 47, the last week with complete data.
The trajectory is expected to continue to rise, with 1.7-million new cases expected in week 51.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and advisor to six U.S. presidents on health issues including AIDS/HIV, Ebola and novel coronavirus, on Monday said he doesn’t expect the pandemic to end until the “overwhelming majority” in the U.S. get vaccinated, which he predicts might become possible as we head into spring in the second quarter of next year.
And it’s not just the virus causing harm. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies President Francesco Rocca said in a virtual UN Correspondents Association meeting Monday that governments are also facing a “second pandemic” of misinformation and distrust.
“To beat Covid-19, we also need to defeat the parallel pandemic of mistrust that has consistently hindered our collective response to this disease, and that could undermine our shared ability to vaccinate against it,” he said.
To date, the proven most effective regimen to slow the spread of COVID-19 is both the simplest low-tech yet the most politically charged option; social distancing, personal hygiene and wearing masks that cover your mouth and nose when out in public. Yet to too many, it’s “fake news” and a challenge to personal liberty and constitutional rights.