2 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Officer Charged In Rayshard Brooks Shooting
Protests intensified in Atlanta after a police officer shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant. The encounter was caught on surveillance camera and by a witness. Police approached Brooks after he had fallen asleep in his car. The police questioned Brooks, patted him down and gave him a breathalyzer test. Witness videos, surveillance footage, bodycam and dashcam footage show the officers engaged Brooks without incident for 41 minutes before the encounter turned fatal.
Atlanta Police Department officer Devin Brosnan arrived at the Wendy’s restaurant to investigate a report of a man asleep in a car which was blocking the drive-through lane. Brosnan awakened Brooks and told him to move the car to a parking space and take a nap. Brooks fell asleep again without moving the car prompting Brosnan to again wake Brooks and instruct him to park the car. Brosnan checked Brooks’s driver’s license and radioed for assistance from an officer certified to conduct driving under the influence investigations. Officer Garrett Rolfe arrived at 10:56 and, with Brooks’s permission, performed a pat-down search for weapons, a field sobriety test, and a breathalyzer test. Brooks appeared impaired and said he had consumed one to one-and-a-half drinks and denied driving or being too drunk to drive. The Breathalyzer registered a blood alcohol level of 0.108%, above the legal limit of 0.08%. Brooks asked to leave his car in the parking lot overnight and walk to his sister’s house a short distance away.
At 11:23, Rolfe told Brooks: “All right, I think you’ve had too much to drink to be driving. Put your hands behind your back for me”; he and Brosnan then moved behind Brooks to handcuff him. Brooks tried to break free and he and the officers scuffled on the ground. During the struggle Brosnan drew his Taser, but Brooks wrested from him and fired it toward Brosnan before attempting to run away. Brosnan says the Taser contacted him and he struck his head on the pavement. Rolfe drew his own Taser and shot Brooks with it. Brooks fled through the parking lot with Brosnan’s Taser still in hand as Rolfe pursued him and fired again with his own Taser. While still running, Brooks turned to fire the second shot of Brosnan’s Taser – capable of two shots before being reloaded – over Rolfe’s head. According to prosecutors, Brooks and Rolfe were 18 feet apart when Rolfe dropped his Taser, drew his handgun and shot Brooks once in the mid-back and once in the buttocks; a third shot struck a nearby vehicle, narrowly missing its three occupants. According to prosecutors Rolfe then declared, “I got him”.
Within 24 hours of the shooting, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that she did not believe it was justified, leading to Rolfe’s firing, Brosnan being placed on administrative duty and the resignation of the city’s police chief, Erika Shields. The county medical examiner rule Brooks’ death a homicide and Georgia Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation. The Fulton County District Attorney said Brooks did not present himself as a threat and appeared almost jovial during the encounter. He announced 11 charges against Rolfe: felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault, four police oath violations, and damage to property. He said Rolfe should have been aware that the Taser Brooks had taken posed no danger, as after being fired twice it could not fire again. He also said that Rolfe and Brosnan did not provide timely medical aid to Brooks and that before they did, Rolfe kicked him and Brosnan stood on his shoulders. The district attorney said it was a violation of department policy for Rolfe to begin handcuffing Brooks before telling him he was being arrested.
2 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on More Police Reforms Passed As Civil Unrest Continues
With mass uprising over police brutality showing no signs of abating, more policy changes are taking shape around the country. San Francisco announced last week that trained, unarmed professionals will respond to noncriminal calls instead of police. Colorado lawmakers passed a bill to introduce sweeping police changes, including banning choke holds and requiring officers to intervene if they see excessive force being used. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he will reallocate $3 million from the police department’s budget toward public health initiatives. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to replace the police department with a community-led public safety system. Minneapolis Councilmember Alondra Cano said, “We acknowledge that the current system is not reformable, that we would like to end the current policing system as we know it.”
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont imposed a series of reforms on the Connecticut State Police, including a ban on choke holds, a mandate that officers use body cameras and dashboard cameras, and restrictions on a program that funnels military equipment to local law enforcement. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a police reform bill into law, prohibiting the use of a choke hold in an arrest “except when a person cannot be captured any other way or has used or threatened deadly force” and preventing an officer from being hired in Iowa if they have a previous felony conviction, were fired for misconduct, or left before they could be fired for misconduct. The bill also requires annual anti-bias and deescalation training for law enforcement and allows the Iowa Attorney General to prosecute officers for a criminal offense resulting in the death of a human being.
Michigan State Senator Jeff Irwin introduced Senate Bill 945 which would require the addition of “implicit bias, deescalation techniques, and mental health screening” as part of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards certification process for new law enforcement officers. The bill was drafted before the death of George Floyd in response to the broader problem of police brutality and passed the State Senate unanimously on June 4. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a series of police reforms, including whistle blower protections, independent review of officer-involved shootings, and use of body cameras by police officers. New Jersey has banned police departments from using choke holds and similar neck and carotid restraints. According to Attorney General Grewal’s order, “Because these tactics create a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm, officers who cause a subject’s death or injury while performing them face potential criminal liability” except when “deadly force is necessary to address an imminent threat to life”.
Meanwhile, counties and cities across the country, including Cleveland, Denver and Indianapolis, are declaring racism a public health crisis. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is calling for a section of downtown known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone to remain permanently in community control. Protesters took over several city blocks last week after the Seattle Police Department abandoned its Capitol Hill precinct and stopped trying to violently disperse marches. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban police use of tear gas and choke holds.
The New York Police Department announced it is dismantling its plainclothes anti-crime unit and the 600 officers in the unit will be reassigned. In 2018, news outlets reported plainclothes anti-crime officers had been involved in 31% of fatal police shootings in New York since 2000. Meanwhile, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has announced plans to create a new civilian department made up of social workers and others to respond to non-emergency 911 calls. In Georgia, the state Legislature reopened with a call to pass a hate crimes bill. Georgia is one of four states with no hate crime laws.
2 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Covid 19 Prediction Warns It Hasn’t Gone Away
With more than 2.06 million cases, America has the world’s largest COVID-19 confirmed cases to date. It’s also first when it comes to the total number of deaths, with more than 117,000 people having died of COVID-19 complications. Nearly 7.5 million people have had confirmed infections worldwide and over 420,000 people died. As US states are opening up their economies, Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha predicts that the US will cross 200,000 deaths sometime in September. Jha explained his estimates only take into account the next few months, but COVID-19 will obviously not disappear after that.
“The pandemic won’t be over in September so I’m really worried about where we’re going to be in the weeks and months ahead. We’re really the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we really needed to,” Jha noted, adding that the US is the only advanced country in the world not to have a proper contact tracing system setup. People should continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks, Jha advised. They should also “put pressure” on the government to advance testing and contact tracing programs.
“But even if we assume that it’s going to be flat all summer, that nothing is going to get worse, we’re going to stay flat all summer — even if we pick that low number, 800 a day — that’s 25,000 a month,” Jha pointed out. “In three and a half months, we’re going to add another 87- 88,000 people, and we will hit 200,000 sometime in September.” Jha said anyone who still thinks the summer will bring a dramatic decrease in cases is “engaging in wishful thinking.” Coronavirus cases and associated hospitalizations may be falling in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, he said, but cases are surging in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas. The Harvard professor of public health said he is not trying to scare people into staying home by raising concerns about the number of deaths he’s predicting.
In Brazil, the coronavirus death toll has topped 43,000 with the total number of confirmed cases at over 850,000. It now has the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the world behind the United States. According to the health ministry, the COVID-19 mortality rate in Brazil is five% and nearly 388,500 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Brazil.
China reported its highest number of daily infections in months, raising concern over a second wave of the outbreak. In Beijing, authorities have reimposed lockdown measures after a new cluster of cases emerged last week. The cluster, the capital’s first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months, raised mainland China’s total number to 83,132. Almost 4,700 people have died in China, where the pandemic originated in December.
The World Health Organization says the pandemic is accelerating in Africa, with the most affected countries being South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan. In Yemen, medical authorities warn deaths linked to the pandemic could exceed war-related fatalities in the port city of Aden. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and practice these actions to help prevent the spread of this illness.
Covid 19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so the recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the world’s economy reopens are: Keep 6 feet of social distance between yourself and others; wear a mask or cloth covering when around others-especially when in situations where you can’t maintain the 6 feet of social distancing; clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; avoid close contact with people who are sick; disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly and stay home if you are feeling any symptoms.
4 weeks ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Three Officers Charged In George Floyd’s Death As Protests Continue
Protests against police violence continue across the country as many cities have imposed curfews. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have activated their National Guards, with nearly 80 localities implementing curfews in response to the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. Protests largely remain peaceful during the day but by night, protests turn to riots. At least 9,300 people have been arrested across the US during protests.
Protesters across the US and globe keep gathering to march, some shouting slogans including “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd told the Minneapolis police officer who had a knee on his neck in a bystander’s video of the incident. Others have gathered to lie face down for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck. In many cities, just before the 8 p.m. curfew begins, police begin shooting tear gas, flashbang grenades and rubber bullets at demonstrators in an attempt to disperse crowds.
In Houston, Texas, 16 members of George Floyd’s family joined a crowd of 60,000 protesters who marched to City Hall to remember Floyd, who spent most of his life in Houston before moving to Minnesota in 2014 for a fresh start. His family urged protestors to continue to fight for police reform and equality by protesting but said rioting is not the way to fix this. Chauvin and Floyd both worked security at the same night club with together with Chauvin working outside security and Floyd working inside the bar. Former coworkers of the two said they bumped heads over Chauvin’s aggressiveness with patrons of the club. Floyd’s family believe George’s death was, in part, personal.
Two separate autopsies confirmed Floyd’s death was a homicide. George Floyd’s memorial service was planned for Thursday in Minneapolis, and his funeral was scheduled for next Tuesday in Houston. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has filed charges against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd. A charge of second-degree murder was added against Officer Derek Chauvin, who was already facing a third-degree murder charge. The other three officers present were charged with aiding and abetting the murder. Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were arrested with bail set at $750,000 each. Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz said the state’s Department of Human Rights has opened a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
Many wonder how we got here or believe the arrest of all four officers involved should quell the protests but George Floyd is not the only person protestors seek justice for. Protestors say Floyd was just the last straw in a growing list of black people that have been killed with no charges for the officers involve or charges being filed months after, only after protests start. News media coverage of the protests has been largely bias and focused on reports of looting have marred the message peaceful protestors want to make. Social media sites like tik tok or youtube can give the world a more factual account of what goes on during these protests in every city by those that are actually there and countless videos show protestors stopping the looters, chasing them off or handing them over to police.
1 month ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on US Unemployment Passes 40 Million
The U.S. Labor Department reported another 2.1 million workers filed for unemployment benefits over the last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began though indicative that a historically high number of Americans remain separated from their jobs. The combined total of job losses since coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March is a staggering 40.7 million. One in four U.S. workers has lost their job in just 10 weeks.
Continuing claims, or those who have been collecting for at least two weeks, numbered 21.05 million, a clearer picture of how many workers are still out of work. That number dropped sharply, falling 3.86 million from the previous week. That decline in continuing claims suggests that the reopening of states is pushing businesses to rehire some of the people let go when the virus hit. The Institute for Policy Studies reports that during the same period the combined wealth of U.S. billionaires soared by $485 billion.
State labor departments have been working since the beginning of the pandemic to clear their backlogs of jobless claims, after the surge in unemployment crashed systems that were ill prepared for such volume. Newly laid-off workers have overwhelmed unemployment offices in numerous states, leading to frustration and delays in applying for and receiving benefits. The high jobless numbers persist even as all states have reopened their economies to various extents. Las Vegas casinos will be resuming activities late next week, Disney resorts also have targeted July reopening dates and Los Angeles is allowing retail stores to resume business. Restrictions are likely to be loosened soon in New York as well.
Many businesses are wrestling with multiple dynamics stemming from the biggest surge in in layoffs since the Great Depression. The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that business owners are seeing workers reluctant to return to their jobs because of safety concerns, child-care issues and “generous” unemployment benefits from the government. Pennsylvania saw the biggest rise in claims last week with 6,892, according to numbers. Many large states, though, saw declines from a week earlier Washington fell by 86,839, while California declined by 32,088 and New York decreased by 31,769.
Many struggling retailers were forced to file bankruptcy during the pandemic. FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the parent company of the Brio Italian Mediterranean and Bravo Fresh Italian restaurant chains filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in April. The company said that 71 of its 92 restaurants had temporarily closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. The company employed over 10,000 people nationally before the pandemic.
Neiman Marcus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 7, citing “inexorable pressure” from the coronavirus pandemic. They employed over 13,000 people before the pandemic. J. Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 4. The company now plans to convert $1.65 billion of its debt into equity. The company said they will continue day to day operations with plans for downsizing, leaving 9,400 jobs up in the air. Stage Stores, which owns Goody’s, Palais Royal, Bealls, Peebles, and Gordmans, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10, saying that coronavirus-related closures exacerbated a “challenging market environment.” The company said it would start winding down operations while seeking a buyer for part or all of its business. They employed over 13,000 people. JCPenney filed for bankruptcy on May 15, saying in court documents that pandemic-related disruptions pushed it over the edge. It will close about 30% of its stores leaving many of its 90,000 employees out of work.
1 month ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Missouri Resident At Lake of Ozarks Positive for Covid 19
A Missouri resident has tested positive for COVID-19 after going to the Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial day weekend, health officials said. The Camden County Health Department said one person tested positive for the virus from Boone County. Health officials said the person did visit Backwater Jack’s, which is the outdoor pool and bar, where a viral video of people not social distancing was taken on Memorial Day weekend. Authorities say the person developed the illness on Sunday and was likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit.
Health officials provided the following timeline for contact tracing:
Saturday, May 23- Backwater Jacks – 1pm to 5pm, Shady Gators and Lazy Gators Pool — 5:40pm to 9pm,
Backwater Jacks — 9:40pm to 10pm, Sunday, May 24 – Buffalo Wild Wings – 1pm to 2pm, Shady Gators — 2:30pm until about 6:30pm or 7pm, Taxi from Shady Gators to private residence about 7pm. They encourage anyone who was at these locations during these times to get tested for Covid 19.
Photos and videos of partygoers crowded into the swim up bar-Backwater Jacks circulated social media over the holiday weekend. Backwater Jack’s Bar and Grill in Lake of the Ozarks is a popular vacation spot in the Midwest that regularly draws summer crowds. It was no different last weekend, even given the pandemic, and people are blasting the restaurant and attendees for ignoring social distancing advice. It’s clear from posts on social media that even if the venue was operating at reduced capacity, it was too crowded to maintain 6 feet between attendees.
Visitors and lake area residents told news outlets they were concerned with the lack of social distancing and safety that lead to a positive coronavirus case because they know the area attracts people from out of state also. “Everyone saw it coming so it’s kind of irony. Everyone’s like oh it’s fine we won’t do anything. But, there’s 200 people in a little pool. So I saw it coming. That’s why I tried to protect myself and make sure I keep others safe as well.” One Lake area resident said.
A visitor to the Lake Area said “They were taking a chance and I’m concerned about what the outcome will be in another week or two. With the one case showing up. Everyone that was exposed to that person is exposing a lot of other people. So it’s a bit concerning.”
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Monday 773 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in the state and there are over 13,000 confirmed cases since the outbreak started. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Monday the state has almost 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and there have been 217 deaths since the outbreak started. The US death toll over 100,000.
2 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Experts Warn of Spikes In Covid 19 Cases 2 to 3 Weeks From Reopening
In just a few months, Covid 19 has spread across the globe and left in its wake a trail of social paralysis, economic ruin and even death. While states across the US issued stay at home orders to slow their healthcare systems from being overrun, other states like New York, weren’t so lucky. As some U.S. states start to lift pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and public spaces, there is a fear that infections will resurge in those places — and that if that happens, the virus won’t stay put.
Crystal Watson of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said “I do believe we are going to see additional surges of cases from this epidemic that will not be contained within a state. Neighboring states and perhaps states across the country and countries across the world are going to have cases imported from those outbreaks.” Experts say the problem is that diagnostic testing remains so limited that a second surge of cases could silently build. The nationwide goal of conducting 2 million tests a week is below what most experts say is needed to adequately track the virus and that plan won’t be in place until at least the end of May.
No one knows how quickly and how expansively the spread of the virus will pick up as states roll back restrictions, and governors are generally outlining gradual changes. The incubation period of 2 to 14 days coupled with the turn-around time of test results in some areas taking a few days, means we just have to wait and see if reopened states will experience a surge in cases. More than half the states have relaxed restrictions but experts say it will be at least two to three weeks before we see an increase in the number of infections because it takes time for individuals to infect others and for them to display symptoms.
Public health experts warned of the possibility of spikes before states made the decision to reopen. Even as their predictions prove true in some states, others are still moving forward with plans to reopen. Proponents of relaxing social distancing restrictions also point out that spikes in positive cases are to be expected with expanded testing.
In Georgia, gyms, salons, and restaurants are operating with limits. In Colorado, retail stores can have curbside pickup and elective surgeries are back on. And starting tomorrow, malls, theaters, and restaurants in Texas can open with 25% occupancy. These and other states have plans for further easing of distancing policies as long as case counts don’t spike. If these states do see spikes they may have to roll back the restrictions as needed.
2 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on FDA Issues EUA of Remdesivir To Treat Severe Covid 19 Cases
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the emergency use authorization for the antiviral drug remdesivir, after preliminary results from a federal trial showed the drug could speed recovery in patients infected with the coronavirus. The finding, which has not yet been peer reviewed, came after another study found no benefit for the drug in severely ill patients in China. The new results suggest a moderate improvement in the death rate of patients taking remdesivir, whose hospital stays were shortened, on average, from 15 days to 11.
The issuance of an EUA is different than FDA approval. In determining whether to issue an EUA, the FDA evaluates the available evidence and carefully balances any known or potential risks of any unproven products with any known or potential benefits of making them available during the emergency. Based on evaluation of the emergency use authorization criteria and the scientific evidence available, it was determined that it is reasonable to believe that remdesivir may be effective in treating COVID-19, and that, given there are no adequate, approved, or available alternative treatments, the known and potential benefits to treat this serious or life-threatening virus currently outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug’s use.
The emergency use authorization (EUA) allows for remdesivir to be distributed in the U.S. and administered intravenously by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator.
The EUA requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using remdesivir in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including dosing instructions, potential side effects and drug interactions. The EUA is temporary and will be effective until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biologics for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 is terminated. It may be revised or revoked if it is determined the EUA no longer meets the statutory criteria for issuance.
Possible side effects of remdesivir include increased levels of liver enzymes, which may be a sign of inflammation or damage to cells in the liver; and infusion-related reactions, which may include low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and shivering.
The top coronavirus task force scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci welcomed news of the first potential treatment for COVID-19. The U.S. government will coordinate the donation and distribution of remdesivir to hospitals in cities most heavily impacted by COVID-19. Given the severity of illness of patients appropriate for remdesivir treatment and the limited availability of drug supply, hospitals with intensive care units and other hospitals that the government deems most in need will receive priority in the distribution of remdesivir.
3 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Meat Processing Plants Close Due to Covid 19
The coronavirus outbreak has hit workers in the food processing industry hard, with meatpacking plants reporting explosions in coronavirus cases. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a Smithfield Foods pork processing plant that employs 3, 700 people closed down indefinitely after the mayor put pressure on the CEOs to shut down for two weeks as the virus continued to spread through the plant.
The mayor spent two weeks asking them to shut down to no avail with daily reports of more workers becoming infected. He finally forced their hand by releasing a letter, signed by the governor, requesting that the plant shut down and released it to the press. At the time of the closure, the plant had 238 workers that tested positive. Now, just 3 weeks after their first worker tested positive, there are more than 700 workers who are confirmed to have Covid 19 and another 143 infections that were traced to them. The number of confirmed cases from the Smithfield plant represent 55% of the states’ cases.
Cargill Meat Solutions, a 900-worker plant in Hazleton, Pa., that packages meat in plastic for supermarket shelves in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, shut down temporarily as 130 hourly workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and a rash of employees called out sick. Three other Pennsylvania plants closed due to the virus. According to a union rep, JBS Beef in Souderton, CTI Foods hamburger-grinding plant in King of Prussia and Empire Kosher Poultry Inc. in Mifflintown are all closed amid outbreaks among employees. A 70-year-old union steward at the JBS Beef slaughterhouse in Souderton died on April 3 from respiratory failure brought on by the pandemic virus.
Meat-processing plants across several other states including Colorado, Iowa, and Nebraska are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks. A federal food inspector in New York died from the disease last month. Some companies are temporarily closing to sanitize facilities while also boosting hourly pay and offering bonuses to workers in an “essential” industry. Cargill said it would reopen its Hazleton plant as soon as it is safe. In late March, Cargill and the United Food and Commercial Workers negotiated a $2 per hour raise for shifts worked between March 23 and May 3. JBS Beef employees will be eligible for a one-time $500 bonus on May 15.
The World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say COVID-19 cannot be spread through food. It’s an “unstable virus” that is mostly spread through sneezing and person-to-person contact. Stomach acids also mostly neutralize the virus if it’s eaten as well.
3 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Covid 19 Projections
The coronavirus pandemic continues in almost every corner of the globe, with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassing 1 million people — though the true number is certain to be far higher due to a critical lack of testing globally. The largest number of cases is in the United States with over 350,000 confirmed. Over 10,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19 as the virus continues to spread.
In Europe, COVID-19 has pushed hospitals across the continent past their breaking points. Spain has reported over 120,000 cases and their death toll topped 10,000. In the U.K., London’s ExCeL convention center has been converted into an enormous field hospital with plans to treat up to 4,000 COVID-19 patients. Over 2,300 people have died from the disease across the U.K.
In Italy, there are over 100,000 confirmed cases and their COVID-19 deaths have topped 15,000. It’s been reported that Italy’s true toll is far higher because the country can’t spare the resources to test every dead body. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said models predict the United States faces a trajectory of COVID-19 deaths similar to Italy’s. The computer model used by the White House projects close to 82,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by August 4, assuming the country implements full social distancing until the end of May.
The 81,766-death projection is a slightly less grim figure than the 93,531 cited earlier by the administration. The model projects that the country may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment than previously estimated, and that some states may reach their peak of COVID-19 deaths sooner than expected. Not all states are using the federal government’s forecasting model.
While the White House projects that coronavirus cases in the nation’s capital would peak later this month, the local Washington, DC government is relying on a different computer model that says it won’t peak until late June or early July. Health experts warn against early optimism and say it’s best to prepare for worst case scenarios.
Experts say that pandemic modelling is almost never precise and the Covid-19 pandemic, the uncertainty in the projections is because of lack of access to good data coupled with the fact that we just don’t know enough about the coronavirus. Another factor that adds to the uncertainty is how people will behave and what kinds of policies will be enacted to change contact patterns in the weeks and months ahead. The ranges estimated really depends on how much people actually adhere to social distancing policies and how quickly these policies are issued.