Early coronavirus models run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed as many as 2.4 million Americans could be dead from the virus by October, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Journal of the American Medical Association Thursday.
So far, more than 174,000 people have died and more than 5.5 million have been infected in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Redfield, who estimated testing may have missed up to 90% of cases, said early models of the pandemic forecast millions of deaths.
“The first CDC models that were presented to me in late February, early March, they said that we were going to lose somewhere on the low end of a million and on the high end about 2.4 million before October,” Redfield said in the video interview.
Now, however, the CDC estimates that about 200,000 people will die by the end of the year, Redfield said -- significantly fewer than the early models projected.
But this is a big loss of life, the CDC head said. “And this is why, you know, if there's a message from us from a public health point of view, the most important thing we can do is do everything we can do to protect the vulnerable around us.”
While he’s sad about the thousands of Americans who have died, Redfield said he thinks the nation’s response to the pandemic has saved a lot of lives. “Every loss of life is tragic,” he said.
“We need to stay vigilant to the mitigation steps right now because come the fall and we have flu causing problems and we have Covid causing its problems and they build on each other, we could end up with another loss of significant life,” he said.