White House names next likely COVID-19 hot spots

Soldier wearing N95 at car window
Soldier wearing N95 at car window

US National Guard, Jonathan Pietrantoni / Flickr cc

Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia will likely be the next novel coronavirus hot spots, according to the White House task force.

During yesterday evening's briefing, Vice President Mike Pence said Philadelphia was of particular concern. Pence said he spoke to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf yesterday about concerning trend lines in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In total, Pennsylvania has confirmed 18,228 cases of COVID-19.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has been vocal about warning that the D.C. and Baltimore metro area is about 2 weeks behind New York and will likely be the next major outbreak region in the country.

Another deadly day in New York

The main US hot spot is still New York, which for the third time this week recorded its deadliest day, with 799 fatalities. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his daily briefing from Albany, said this week has been the darkest in New York’s history — darker than even the days following the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001.

"We now have 7,067 deaths in New York due to the virus, compared to 2,753 on 9/11," Cuomo said. "That is so shocking I don’t have the words for it. The only solace when I look at these numbers is we didn't lose anyone we could have saved."

So far, the state has not run out of either intensive care unit hospital beds or ventilators. Cuomo did say, however, he needed to bring in more funeral directors to help manage the influx of corpses across the state.

Despite the high death toll, Cuomo said there are continued signs the pace of hospitalizations is slowing in the state, and he cautioned New Yorkers to continue social distancing. The state has now confirmed 159,937 cases. Following New York, New Jersey has the second-highest case count, with 51,027 cases and 1,700 deaths.

Michigan has the third-most cases with 21,504 and 1,076 deaths. Yesterday the Detroit Free Press reported that the state is seeing some signs of hope and noted cases are now doubling every week instead of every 2 or 3 days.

In total, the United States has reported 450,682 cases of COVID-19 and 16,231 deaths from the virus.

Earlier today, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the "Today" show and said models used by the White House now project 60,000 American deaths from the virus, down from the 100,000 to 200,000 previously predicted.

According to the latest modeling provided by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the model most cited by the White House coronavirus task force in recent weeks, the United States will likely see its peak number of cases on Easter, Apr 12.

NY COVID-19 cases likely linked to Europe

Today the New York Times reported new research on the genetics of coronavirus cases in New York that shows the virus was likely spreading in that state since mid-February, and most early cases were linked to the European, not Asian, outbreaks of the virus.

The research, which is not yet peer reviewed, analyzed the genome of some of New York City’s first confirmed cases and showed they were identical to viruses circulating in Italy and Spain.

In economic news, 6.6 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week, raising the total number of claims due to the coronavirus to 16 million. Claims numbers have set new records for each of the last 3 weeks.

President Donald Trump will likely create a second coronavirus task force to deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic and subsequent recovery, CNN reports. The task force is expected to draft plans for reopening the economy after the current national period of social distancing is completed on Apr 30.

Today on CNBC, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the country could be "open for business" by May.

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