Hospitals are preparing millions of Americans for hospitalization as part of the novel epidemic of coronavirus.
The outbreak of the fatal disease could be much worse than authorities say, with 480,000 Americans are believed to die from the infection, and 4.8 million infected, according to a conference held in February by The American Hospital Association (AHA).
It places the epidemic at a pace that is more than 10 times that seen in a normal flu season.
The surprise estimates undermine the credibility of President Trump’s statements that the danger to Americans is ‘ small ‘ on many occasions.
In February, the American Hospital Association, representing thousands of hospitals and health systems, organized a webinar with its member hospitals and health care systems. A copy of the submitted slides was also obtained.
The presentation entitled “What healthcare professionals need to know: Preparing for the COVID-19,” took place on 26 February, with representatives from the National Ebola Training and Education Center.
At the time of the presentation last week, there were more than 80,000 confirmed cases around the globe. However, in the US there was around 60 cases and no deaths. Fast forward just one week, and the US has around 700 cases and 17 confirmed deaths and more than 100,000 people have now been infected globally.
Dr. James Lawler, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, offered his “best guess” predictions of how much the virus could spread in the USA as part of the presentation to hospitals.
Leaked slides also show major risks, if they catch coronavirus, to older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. The slides showed that people aged 80 and over have a 14.8 percent risk of dying if they develop the infection.
The slide gives no specific time frame. The slide reflects “his understanding of the available data. Forecasting the change as more information becomes available,” a Nebraska Medicine spokesperson told.
The risk decreases with youth, although those aged 70-79 and 60-69 are still at substantial risk, with mortality rates of 8 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.
Harvard University Professor Marc Lipsitch previously told The Atlantic that up to 70 per cent of the world’s population will be infected with coronavirus in the coming year.
President Trump, blamed for trying to downplay the risk of disease, signed a healthcare bill to devote $8.3 billion to tackle the crisis. The president only demanded Congress for just over $2 billion, but they opposed that and both houses passed a spending bill of $8.3 billion on Friday.
The coronavirus death toll in the US rose to 17 Friday, after three new deaths were reported in the state of Washington and Florida recorded their first two.