At This Rate, We'll Double COVID-19 Deaths by Labor Day, Expert Says

The second wave of COVID-19 isn't too far off—and one expert thinks it will be worse than anyone expects.

Getting an idea of where coronavirus numbers are headed has been a top priority for government officials since the pandemic began. While some are taking joy at the flatlined or declining numbers, many medical experts are worried that certain states may be reopening too early and fear that a second wave of COVID-19 cases is becoming unavoidable. But how long until we reach that point? According to a forecasting model's estimate, scientists warn that coronavirus numbers will surge significantly again as early as September—with one expert saying it could take the official death toll in the U.S. well above 200,000 that month.

General figures, which are based on the University of Washington's COVID-19 model, predict a surge in cases that will take the U.S. to 650 deaths per day by September. But Ashish Sha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, believes these numbers are too conservative. He claims that large groups congregating in public, the lack of a vaccine, and an upward trend in cases in over 20 states proves that the second wave will be much bigger than estimates suggest.

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"We're going to get another 100,000 deaths by September," Sha told CNN. But he clarified that if the surge in cases around the country continues at its current rate, "then I am being too optimistic, and [the next 100,000 deaths] will come sooner than that."

But Sha clarified that this dire outlook isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion. He believes that following the basic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines will help get the pandemic in check. "I'm hopeful that we can get our act together and at least put back some of the social distancing stuff that we've let go," he told CNN. And while he doesn't recommend a return to lockdown, Sha feels that diligently wearing face masks, increased testing, and contact tracing should be enough to stave off disaster. And for more on where experts think the coronavirus could go, check out Here's How the Second Wave of Coronavirus Could Be Even Worse.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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