There are now 83,836 confirmed case of coronavirus cases in the U.S., the highest in the world
The novel coronavirus is expected to kill 200,000 to 1.7 million Americans by the end of the year, Ebony Jade Hilton, M.D., predicted Friday during the Congressional Black Caucus Telephone Town Hall.
Dr. Hilton, an anesthesiologist at the University of Virginia, said COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the Spanish flu of 1918-1919 that killed more than 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 in the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that flu killed 80,000 Americans in 2017 and 2018.
“We are in a health crisis and a financial crisis,” Dr. Hilton added. “This year 14,591 Americans so far have tested positive for the COVID-19.”
At the same time, companies have laid off workers because business has dried up.
Ron Klain, President Barack Obama’s “Ebola czar,” said Americans need to prepare for a massive spike in coronavirus cases and deaths over the next few weeks.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Monday warned the coronavirus outbreak will get worse this week because too many people are not taking the threat seriously.
Dr. Adams said many people, especially young people, are not abiding by guidance to stay home and practice social distancing. Instead, many are flocking to California’s beaches and the National Mall in Washington to see the Cherry blossoms.
While the number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases is already doubling every three days, Klain said, he expects new cases to “accelerate further as we finally start to put some testing on the line and we start to really understand how big a problem we have — and I think it’s a very big problem.”
As of Wednesday March 25, 83,836 Americans had tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,209 had died, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Dr. Hilton said the pace of infections is spreading rapidly, similar to China and Italy. There are now 81,782 coronavirus cases in China and 80,589 cases in Italy.
The disease is especially hard on African American workers because only 38 percent have paid sick days, said U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Pennsylvania), who also participated in the telephone town call.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to encourage workers to hunker down at home when they are sick.
However, the United States does not have a national sick leave policy, which is a financial sacrifice for the 32 million workers who don’t have paid sick leave benefits. Without paid sick leave, workers are more likely to come work sick, exposing their co-workers and customers to illness, the CDC said.
President Donald Trump recently signed a bipartisan coronavirus aid package to provide sick leave to some workers.