There have been over 125,000 coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of the virus nationwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of known cases globally has surpassed 10 million.
The U.S. has by far the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths; Brazil has the second highest numbers, with over 1.3 million recorded infections and at least 57,00 deaths as of Sunday.
The U.S. appeared to be flattening its curve, but surges in infections across some parts of the country in recent weeks have led to record numbers of hospitalizations. Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this week that the death toll in the U.S. could top 240,000.
— Hayley Miller
Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that new spread of the coronavirus — not increased testing capacity — is largely responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases across parts of the country.
His statement contradicts President Donald Trump’s claim that the number of confirmed cases has skyrocketed simply because more tests have been made available.
“As a doctor, a scientist, an epidemiologist, I can tell you with 100% certainty that in most states where you’re seeing an increase, it is a real increase,” Frieden told “Fox News Sunday.”
He continued: “It is not more tests. It is more spread of the virus. … The numbers you’re seeing are just a tip of the iceberg of even more spread.”
On Friday, the U.S. reported over 45,000 new cases, shattering the record for the country’s largest single day total. Hospitalizations have increased dramatically in several states, including Arizona, Florida, Texas and South Carolina.
Frieden on Sunday suggested that these states reopened too early.
“If you open when cases are still increasing, as many states did, it’s like leaning into a left hook: You’re going to get hit hard,” Frieden said.
He estimated that another 15,000 people in the U.S. will die from COVID-19 in the next month.
— Hayley Miller
Studies on the long-term effects of COVID-19 are getting started as scientists begin to understand the toll the virus takes on the human body.
Although much of the focus in the early days of the crisis was on how the virus affects the lungs, patients can also experience blood clotting that leads to strokes, as well as various neurological complications, from headaches to seizures.
“We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs. We didn’t appreciate that in the beginning,” Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told Reuters.
People who contract the most serious cases of COVID-19 face extensive recovery time. It can take seven days in rehab for every one day spent on a ventilator to recover, and not every patient regains the same level of function.
― Sara Boboltz
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