CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta Saturday hosted a Coronavirus: Facts and Fears town hall on Saturday with former directors of the US Centers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts.
Here are the highlights:
US Covid-19 cases expected to surge: The US could record nearly 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths by February 1, according to Dr. Chris Murray, a researcher behind an influential coronavirus model from the University of Washington. Daily deaths will likely peak in the middle of January, he said.
40 million people could be infected in US: Coronavirus infections in the US are likely much higher than the 7.6 million recorded so far by Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project, said Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US CDC. “Almost certainly, there have actually been more than 40 million people infected by this virus in the US.”
20,000 people could die by end of the month: Dr. Frieden also predicted that with the current surge in cases, another 20,000 people in the US could die from the virus by the end of the month. “From the infections that have already occurred, we will see something like 20,000 deaths by the end of the month — additional deaths,” he said.
True number of coronavirus deaths in the US over 250,000: Frieden suggested the true number of coronavirus deaths in the US is well over 250,000. He said a lot of the confusion about Covid-19 mortality rates was the result of the way fatalities are listed on death certificates.
Hope over vaccine: Dr. David Satcher, a former director of the CDC, said he hopes a Covid-19 vaccine “can make a difference.” He said: “I don’t think that we are at the point of no return … We’re pursuing some important things as it relates to new vaccines. There’s a lot of hope there, that we can come up with a vaccine that can make a difference.”
Transparency is key for vaccines: If the government wants more Americans to take a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available, it will have to start telling the truth and being consistent, said Dr. Julie Gerberding. “It is about regaining trust, and trust depends first and foremost on telling the truth, even when it’s hard,” she said.