Or millions, as the U.S. may have in a month.
Here is my simplified projection for the U.S. one month from now. This does not take into account the leveling off that will start to occur as the number of immune recovered patients increases. At present, the 1.3 daily increase is nearly unchanged from March 1, so no simplification is needed. Experts say it is unlikely more than 70% of the population will be infected.
|Date||Cases||Increase||New Cases||Percent of population|
I say the increase is "nearly unchanged" because there a slight decrease yesterday, but I doubt it was significant. Here are the numbers from March 2 - March 15. As you see, it went down to 1.24 twice in the last 14 days, and it was 1.25 yesterday.
If these numbers hold, U.S. hospitals will be overwhelmed by April 4. That's based on the number beds and ICU listed in the N.Y. Times. By April 11, there will be ~1 million new cases per day. There will no care available for most patients. No drugs at all. People will be dying at home at about the same rate they did in the 1918 pandemic, because the mortality rate for untreated patients is about the same, 2% to 3%.
Actually, the mortality rate for the U.S. untreated population may be a little higher than 3% for the cononavirus, because our population is unhealthy. 40% of adults over 20 are obese. 8% are severely obese, and 32% are overweight. This is well known cause of comorbidity for a wide range of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and -- of course -- diabetes. According to Michael Osterholm () the effect of obesity is roughly equivalent to smoking. Obviously, smoking is more directly dangerous with a respiratory disease such as coronavirus. So anyway, based on this, I looked that the Chinese statistics for elderly and unhealthy populations and comorbidity. It shows 9.2% mortality for pre-existing diabetes. (https://www.worldometers.info/…rus-age-sex-demographics/) 30% of obese people have diabetes. (https://news.harvard.edu/gazet…ry/2012/03/the-big-setup/) So, just looking at diabetes, and ignoring other comorbidity caused by obesity, we have:
~40% of adults obese, ~30% of those with diabetes, equals ~12% of U.S. adult population dying at 9.2% instead of rates ranging from 0.2% to 3.6% for people under 60.
That is, 12% of the adult population that is infected, not the whole population. I think this would be enough to push mortality significantly above the expected rate of ~2% or 3% for untreated patients in a catastrophic situation. Even if hospitals are not overwhelmed, there is no doubt that the 40% obese population will die at a higher rate than the average Japanese or Korean population, because obesity is rare in these countries. What it boils down to is that 40% of our population will die at the rate 70-year-old Japanese patients do, because we have a gigantic burden of comorbidity.
Obesity is a major reason the U.S. healthcare system is number 27 in the world, behind every other first world country. (https://www.businessinsider.co…care-and-education-2018-9) The other reason, obviously, is because 90 million people have no health insurance and no sick leave, so they cannot go to the doctor. (The notion that emergency room treatment is "free" is complete nonsense. They charge you for it. A friend of mine had emergency room treatment and was in a coma for several days. He woke up facing a bill for $90,000. When I last heard, the collectors had taken his truck, and they were after his house. They will take every penny and leave you homeless, if they can.)
Needless to say, the fact that many people cannot go the doctor or even stay home sick will push up the death rate, and it will accelerate the speed of the epidemic.