COVID-19 Cases in the US Cross 100,000; Highest Global Death Toll 

As the country gears to reopen, cases and deaths in the United States keep rising. What explains the surge?

3 min read
As the country gears to reopen, cases and deaths in the United States keep rising.

As the United States makes its way into opening up their states and economies after the lockdown, they are still seeing one of the worst global death rates from coronavirus.

Around 1,707,700 people have been infected and at least 100,400 have died, reported The New York Times.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has more than 1.69 million confirmed cases.
Daily confirmed new cases
Daily confirmed new cases
(Photo: Johns Hopkins University)

Across the large country, some states are steading their caseload, some are showing a slight decrease, while some are showing increases - nonetheless, the big picture is that COVID-19 is still hitting the US hard.

What Do Higher Deaths Mean for the US?

The United States is in a tough situation, with cases and deaths increasing daily.

However, according to the data, the US’s mortality rate sits at 5.9 per cent, way below other countries such as Belgium which has fewer overall cases but a mortality rate of 16.2 per cent.
Mortality in the most affected countries
Mortality in the most affected countries
(Photo: Johns Hopkins University)

Considering the size of the country, the cases in the US and the deaths too, are clearly the most in the world.

Cumulative Cases By Days Since 50th Confirmed Case
Cumulative Cases By Days Since 50th Confirmed Case
(Photo: Johns Hopkins University)
What the trends do show, however, is that the US has not managed to flatten the curve and may continue to see a rise in cases and deaths.

Compared to data of the other 10 worst affected countries, each has managed to somewhat contain it and the result is a flattened line on the graph.

The second worst affected country after the US, the United Kingdom and the third, Italy, are showing a rise in death rates, which may indicate that even they are in the middle of their respective waves - although it seems like the cases are flattening.

Cumulative Deaths By Days Since 50th Confirmed Case
Cumulative Deaths By Days Since 50th Confirmed Case
(Photo: Johns Hopkins University)

What Caused the Surge in Cases in the US?

In an earlier FIT article, we explained what went wrong with the US’ handling of the crisis.

They had a late start and were slow to develop and deploy the diagnostic tests, and they were slow to enforce containment strategies.

Some of these issues still persist, with US President Trump’s failure to take charge and lead with accurate, scientific information.

The Trump Administration started screening potential COVID-19 cases too late, and Dr Margaret Hamburg, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told NYT that their lag created the space for an “exponential growth of cases.”

An Al Jazeera article from 26 May said that despite warnings from global health officials and the WHO that the world was still very much in the thick of the crisis, Trump forged ahead with tweets on reopening the economy.

"Right now, we're not in the second wave. We're right in the middle of the first wave globally," said Dr Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's executive director to Al Jazeera.

Reports say that the US president is focussed on restarting the country to lessen the economic impact and boost up his ratings in time for his re-election prospects in November.

On top of this, across the US, many Americans protested the lockdown and restrictions. While countries worldwide (like India) have taken strict precautions to ensure social distancing and staying indoors to flatten the curve, many Americans thought of these restrictions as an infringement of their right to liberty. Many refused to wear protective masks as well in defiance.

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