On Sunday in CNN's State of the Union, the leading US agency for the COVID-19 pandemic made some grim predictions about the course of the novel corona virus that is raging in US communities.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and emerging face of the American leadership in the fight against the virus, estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, the deadly disease, could result from the novel corona virus in the United States . As a highly respected authority on viral diseases, Fauci has been involved in managing the federal response to SARS, MERS, Ebola and now the novel coronavirus.
Fauci warned that these estimates are based on models and that a model is only as accurate as the assumptions underlying its creation. An extreme worst-case situation in which the coronavirus causes millions of American deaths remains "not impossible, but very, very unlikely".
"Whenever the models come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper. “In general, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I have never seen a model of the diseases I have dealt with where the worst case actually occurred. They always overshoot. "
Fauci believes that there are likely to be "millions of cases" in the United States, but largely warns against relying on model estimates, yet stresses the extreme risk that the virus poses.
"I just don't think we really have to make a projection if it's a target so flexible that we can be so wrong and mislead people," said Fauci. He added that outbreaks in New York, New Orleans and other areas with "serious problems" remain worrying, indicating that the data available are a matter of concern.
By Sunday morning, 2,197 people in the United States had lost their lives fighting the virus. According to Johns Hopkins University, 125,313 cases have been confirmed in the country to date. The number of actual cases of the virus on the ground is likely to be much higher, as test challenges continue to cause problems in some parts of the country and many mild or asymptomatic cases remain untested.