A member of Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force has predicted that up to 250,000 people in the US will die directly from Covid-19 before the end of the year.
Dr Ezekiel Emanuel, a former health policy adviser to president Barack Obama and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, has criticised the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking on CBS’ The Takeout podcast, Dr Emanuel said that president Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic has been “incompetent and pretty disastrous.
According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, more than 3 million people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US and at least 132,723 have died, but Dr Emanuel believes both numbers will rise significantly by the end of the year.
“Before the year is out, we’ll probably have, I would think, between 220,000 and 250,000 Americans who died directly from Covid, not to mention those people who are dying indirectly,” he said.
Dr Emanuel added that because a lot of the focus in healthcare has been on coronavirus patients, people with heart issues or who are in need of cancer treatments will suffer as they may have not got the treatment they need, according to CBS.
“You’ll have a huge increase in mortality because of Covid, and that is, it seems to me, to be a failure,” he said.The US has seen a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in the past month, following a period where they fell, and recorded a new daily case total on Thursday, with at least 59,880 people testing positive for Covid-19 across the country.
Dr Emanuel told CBS that the uptick in cases and death totals is similar to what the US faced at the start of the pandemic in March, and added that the country has wasted time to tackle the virus.
“That’s not progress, that’s regression. In some ways, you can say we’ve wasted four months.”
Dr Emanuel was appointed to Mr Biden’s coronavirus task force in March, which was set up to help the Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election make policy recommendations on how to tackle the pandemic.
However, the health expert admitted that he does agree with Mr Trump that schools should reopen later in the year, but stressed that some children will contract the virus.
“We need to open up primary and secondary schools in the fall. I think it’s really important. I think you can do it safely. But whenever I say it, I don’t mean ‘no Covid,’ I mean ‘you will get Covid and kids will get Covid,’ but you can do it in a way that tries to minimise those cases,” Dr Emanuel said.