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  • People walk in Central Park of New York, the United States, Aug. 26, 2020.

    People walk in Central Park of New York, the United States, Aug. 26, 2020. | Photo: Xinhua/Wang Ying

Published 28 September 2020
Opinion

The latest projection has forecast a major winter surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States, leading to 3,000 deaths a day by the end of the year.

Almost half of the U.S. states are reporting increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases as health experts warn of a potential coronavirus surge in the United States in the fall and winter.

As of Sunday, the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased by at least 10 percent or more than the week before in 21 states, most of them in the West, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

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Cases are rising in 21 states such as Alabama, Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

Eighteen states were holding steady. Only 11 states, including Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, and New Hampshire, saw decreases of new cases of more than 10 percent compared to the week prior.

The latest projection of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington has forecast a significant winter surge in the United States, leading to 3,000 deaths a day by the end of the year.

People are seen on the outdoor square where it was marked to remind people of keeping social distancing in Hudson Yards in New York City, the United States, Sept. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

"Daily deaths are expected to reach 3,000 per day in late December. The reference scenario suggests that cumulative deaths will reach 371,000 by January 1," said the projection.

The massive increase in daily deaths expected in late November and December is driven by continued increases in mobility and declines in mask use, but most importantly by seasonality, according to the IHME.

The country could see an explosion of COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter as people exercise less caution and spend more time indoors, where there is a greater likelihood of transmission, according to IHME Director Chris Murray.

Murray said the IHME model shows a "huge surge" expected to take off in October "and accelerate in November and December."

Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield previously warned the fall and winter could be one of the most challenging times that the American people experienced in public health.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a House subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., the United States, on July 31, 2020. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Xinhua)

With daily cases averaging 40,000 nationwide, the new season could be a challenge, said Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Fauci said earlier this month, it could be the end of 2021 before life gets back to how it was before COVID-19.

Until then, Fauci and other leading experts have urged the American public to continue heeding safety guidelines and wearing masks, keeping social distance, avoid crowded places and gatherings.

"We hope that with appropriate measures and perhaps a vaccine, the surge will be less than we fear," Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, told Xinhua.

Months into the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 7.13 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 204,900 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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