It’s a morbid milestone for the 2019 virus that rapidly became the third leading cause of U.S. deaths. The number of fatalities is likely much higher both in the United States and around the world, experts said. Globally, approximately 6.3 million people have died of COVID-19, although a recent World Health Organization review has estimated the total could be more than two times higher – including 110,000 more deaths in the United States than were documented last year. President Biden marked what he called the “tragic milestone” on May 12.
The CDC still is reporting 997.5k cumulative US deaths. The CDC will likely report over 1 million US COVID deaths next week and will end this week at about 999k.
The Daily number of reported US COVID cases was 127k yesterday as the 7-day moving average of daily cases has tripled from 3-4 weeks ago.
Longer Term Forecast Looking at the COVID Waves and the Flu Since 1900
In the US, there have been six waves of increasing COVID daily COVID cases. We are part way through the sixth wave of increasing COVID daily cases.
Is the long-term relative steady-state for the US and world COVID epidemic like the summer of 2021 and the current daily death rate? This would mean long-term daily US COVID deaths in the 200 to 500 range. This would mean annual US COVID deaths of 70,000 to 200,000.
Flu seasons in the US usually have 20,000 to 100,000 deaths per year. Flu hospitalizations range from 150,000 to 1.2 million in typical years.
It took about three to four decades for flu seasons to get substantially less harsh than the situation in the 1920-1929 after the 1918 pandemic. The three decades after were a lot better than the 1918 pandemic but they did not settle into the lower levels experienced from 1970 to 2020 for three decades.
US Flu deaths in the 1920-1929 timeframe was in a population-adjusted range of 150,000 to 700,000. The US flu deaths were less because of the lower population but the annualized deaths per 100,000 were ranging from 50-200 throughout the year. Multiplying by 3350 would get to what we would have expected if there was our current population. We currently do have therapeutics like monoclonal antibodies and antivirals and vaccination. This should reduce the public health impact of COVID. The negative factors are that the US population is older and has more obese. Those factors increase the public health impact of COVID.
The long-term burden of COVID would be reduced if the public health problem of obesity could be improved. Those who are obese are three times as likely to die or have a severe case of COVID. Countries with less than 25% obesity rates have ten times lower death rates from COVID.
Technological and medical breakthroughs that could reduce the COVID burden would be treatments that boost immune systems overall, specific improvements with COVID like t-cell vaccinations, close monitoring of the genetics of variations and a rapid proactive response, and treatments and success with weight loss and overall population health.
It seems likely that COVID will be two to three times as deadly as the flu for about two or three decades.
SOURCES- John Hopkins, CDC
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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