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What's Coming This Winter? Here's How Many More Could Die In The Pandemic

10/16/2020

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly in many states as the U.S. heads into the winter months. And forecasters predict staggering growth in infections and deaths if current trends continue. It's exactly the kind of scenario that public health experts have long warned could be in store for the country, if it did not aggressively tamp down on infections over the summer. "We were really hoping to crater the cases in preparation for a bad winter," says Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University. "We've done basically the opposite."

After hitting an all-time high in July, cases did drop significantly, but the U.S. never reached a level where the public health system could truly get a handle on the outbreak. Now infections are on the rise again. The U.S. is averaging more than 52,000 new cases a day (the highest it's been since mid-August), driven by ballooning outbreaks across the country's interior, especially in the Midwest, the Great Plains and the West Contributing to this rise is the return of students to campus, resistance to mandates on social distancing and mask wearing, and more people spending time in restaurants and other indoor settings, Smith says.

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