Opinion | Endemic Covid-19 Looks Pretty Brutal

It is natural to look at those charts and feel some relief, appreciating how much immune protection the country has accumulated over time, particularly against severe disease and hospitalization. But the footprint of that steady state is also disconcertingly heavy. More than 300 Americans have been dying nearly every day for months; the number is today above 400, and growing.

Right now, Bedford says, around 5 percent of the country is getting infected with the coronavirus each month and he expects that pattern to largely continue. What would that imply death-wise, I ask? As a ballpark estimate, he says, going forward we can expect that every year, around 50 percent of Americans will be infected and more than 100,000 will die.

This year has been considerably worse than that, largely because it includes the initial arrival of Omicron — which, though often described as “mild,” killed more than 100,000 Americans in the first six weeks of the year. And so although the country’s current trajectory is following an annualized pace of 100,000 deaths, more than 200,000 Americans have died already this year, which implies over 250,000 deaths by the end of 2022.

Michael Mina, an epidemiologist who left Harvard to become the chief scientist at the online medical portal eMed in 2021 after spending most of the pandemic as the country’s leading rapid-testing evangelist, believes it could get worse. With a combination of seasonality and waning immunity among older people, he said, there’s potential for a fall wave of perhaps 1,000 a day. That would bring the number of American deaths, this year, to potentially 300,000 or more.

Opinion Conversation
Questions surrounding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as vaccines and treatments.

That toll, 10 times that of recent flu seasons, is smaller, to be sure, than those of the first two years of the pandemic, when just over 400,000 Americans died during both President Donald Trump’s last year in office and in President Biden’s first. But it isn’t that much smaller. Nationally, the infection fatality rate is a fraction of what it once was, but the disease is spreading much more prolifically now and has been all year, which means all told the disease is still generating a quite devastating death toll — particularly among the elderly, who have been accumulating immunity more slowly than the rest of the population and shedding it more quickly.

After a recent stumble in which Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, called the daily number of deaths “low,” the administration has taken to calling the current level “unacceptable.” But there’s little reason to expect that level will fall much, at least not significantly. “You do feel caught in this loop,” says Natalie Dean at Emory, a biostatistician specializing in the epidemiology of infectious disease. “We all probably feel similarly. It’s like — another wave.” If anything, she says, “it does seem like things are picking up now,” with BA.5. “That steady state doesn’t put us in a great place.”


Share post on

News

It’s the end of ‘fantasyland’ for Big Tech and its workers

After Big Tech grew in unprecedented and unchecked fashion for a decade, building ostentatious...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

Rare Case of Polio Prompts Alarm and an Urgent Investigation in New York

The scene in Rockland County on Friday morning might well have been from a...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

Opinion | I Was Wrong About Al Franken

During the height of the #MeToo movement in 2017, a woman named Leeann Tweeden...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

TA: Ethereum Stuck In Key Range, Why $1,480 Is The Key

Ethereum failed again to settle above the $1,620 zone against the US Dollar. ETH...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

China Adds Science Laboratory to Its Orbiting Space Station

BEIJING (AP) — China added a laboratory to its permanent orbiting space station Monday...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

American Track Athletes Showed Up. Did American Fans?

Kara Winger arrived at the track and field world championships as one of the...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

Accepting Bitcoin for your business just like Tesla: Report

Tesla temporarily embracing Bitcoin (BTC) as a method of payment for its products was...

By Nicholas Raymond
News

How Much Money Can You Save by Going Meatless Once a Week?

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting...

By Nicholas Raymond

Latest Posts

Coupon

Disney Starbucks Ornaments $17.99 in August 2022

Shop over at the Disney Store where you can get this Minnie Mouse Starbucks Cup Ornament...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

Russell Men’s and Big Men’s 9″ Core Training Active Shorts WALMART CLEARANCE in August 2022

The post Russell Men’s and Big Men’s 9″ Core Training Active Shorts WALMART CLEARANCE...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

Adidas Men’s Shoes $39 Shipped in August 2022

Shop at Adidas where they are currently offering up to 50% off shoes! Select styles...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

Tabita Brown Journal 2-Pack for $5 in August 2022

You can score great deals on Tabita Brown’s newest collection at Target. As an...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

Portable Countertop Dishwasher, 5 Washing Programs WALMART CLEARANCE in August 2022

Material: ABS+Steel+Galvanized plate Product Type: Countertop Number of Place Settings: 6 Number of Cycles:...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

Pioneer PN43951-22U 43″ 4K HDR LED UHD Fire Smart TV for $190 in cart in August 2022

Never Miss Another Deal Get the latest deals delivered straight to your inbox You...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

Wireless EarbudsBluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds Bluetooth Headphones with Deep Bass HiFi 3D Stereo Sound Built-in Mic Earphones with Portable Charging Case for Smartphones and Laptops (White) On Sale At Walmart in August 2022

Glitchndealz » Walmart Coupons & Promo Codes » Wireless EarbudsBluetooth 5.0 Wireless...

By Alfred Keen
Coupon

WD Easystore 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for $43 in August 2022

It's $2 under our March mention and a savings of $42 off list. Buy...

By Alfred Keen