Veterans Day 2020. I began reporting the progress of the pandemic in the US July 22. At the time the reporting from CDC and WHO, suggested that 244,000 Americans would die by election day and 302,000 by the end of this year. The rough election day projection turned out to be high by about 13,000. Since then the situation has only become worse.
I now use several estimating formulas that vary by which combination of current cases and death ratios (deaths:cases) is used, and I now report a range of estimates rather than only the simplest one. The number of cases is rising for the third time, and November has seen an average new cases of 82,000, the highest since the beginning of the epidemic, and deaths have averaged 846 (Fig. 1). The election estimate is now moot, of course; the estimate of total deaths for Inauguration Day 2021 now ranges from 304,000 to 596,000 (Fig. 2). My calculations roughly parallel those of major research institutions, currently varying from the CDC range for the end of November by under five percent. Univ. of WA Health Sciences projection is for 380,000 deaths by Inauguration Day; my range is from 304,000 to 596,000.
If the present trends continue, we could be looking at 20 million infections by the end of 2021, accompanied by somewhere between 1.6 and 2.4 million deaths, again depending on which combination of case load and death ratio turns out to be most accurate. This is surely better than the 66 million infections and 4.8 million deaths that might be expected in the "herd immunity" approach touted by some commentators.
Explanations of the graphics are in earlier posts. The projections are simply based on the current cases and deaths, multiplied by the remaining days to any given end, where the base is the number of cases or deaths to date, and the multiplier is either the average during the pandemic or the short term actual or average rate at the time.
I have faulted our government's response, and I continue to find it incompetent and ignorant, emanating from the top. While national comparisons are imprecise, the US surely has the worst public health outcomes in the world (Fig. 3, Kaiser) during the current pandemic with respect to infection. We are indeed fortunate to have a reserve of medical talent that is keeping our national death rate low, but how long that can persist in the face of the infection rate and shrinking hospital and treatment capacity. I consider the current leadership to be responsible for the majority of the surplus morbidity and mortality, and the willingness of so many to accept these results and vote for their continuation remains inexplicable.