Whats CDC’s Worst Case Scenario Of US COV-19 Pandemic As Per Late February 2020

The drastic actions that the US is currently taking to stem the tide of the spread of the coronavirus COV-19 pandemic are being implemented to mitigate against the worst case scenarios in the USA, as presented by the CDC in late February 2020. The social distancing measures that are being undertaken may appear drastic but they are necessary.

Eventually, there will be more widespread testing for those folks showing the coronavirus COV-19 symptoms like fever, shortness of breath and flu-like illnesses, but the US isn’t there yet. The US is 2 months behind in setting up for this crucial step but that’s changing as the big pharma corporations like Roche enter the picture with FDA approval. With the government paying the bills for testing, there’s no way that these companies won’t take full advantage. That’s the American way which is a very appropriate stance in today’s circumstances.

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As per a 3/13/2020 NPR report by Chris Arnold, “U.S. Coronavirus Testing Gets A Potential Breakthrough”


“In what’s looking more like a public health debacle, the U.S. has a serious testing problem with the coronavirus. Only around 15,000 people have been tested so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And public health experts say that’s not nearly enough to know how widespread the outbreak is and how to respond.”

“But the Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new test from the giant pharmaceutical company Roche that could represent a major breakthrough.”

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“The big players that normally sell things like the [regular flu] test kits or rapid strep test kits to hospitals, they haven’t had assays authorized yet by FDA,” says Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious disease programs at the Association of Public Health Laboratories.”

“So in other words, the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and the world haven’t been able to pitch in and help.”

“But that just changed in a very big way.”

“We’re very excited to share the news that overnight we got emergency use authorization from the FDA,” says Paul Brown, a senior executive for Roche. He says the company has a new test that’s more simple, and quicker to get results.”

“Roche has already begun production while it awaited FDA approval, he says.”

Here’s the rest of the story…

On March 13, 2020, Sheri Fink of the New York Times penned the following report, “The Worst-Case Estimate for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths” (“Officials at the C.D.C. and epidemic experts conferred last month about what could happen in the U.S.”)

“Officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and epidemic experts from universities around the world conferred last month (February 2020) about what might happen if the new coronavirus gained a foothold in the United States. How many people might die? How many would be infected and need hospitalization?”

Coronavirus symptoms – who joint mission 2

“One of the agency’s top disease modelers, Matthew Biggerstaff, presented the group on the phone call with four possible scenarios — A, B, C and D — based on characteristics of the virus, including estimates of how transmissible it is and the severity of the illness it can cause. The assumptions, reviewed by The New York Times, were shared with about 50 expert teams to model how the virus could tear through the population — and what might stop it.”

“The C.D.C.’s scenarios were depicted in terms of percentages of the population. Translated into absolute numbers by independent experts using simple models of how viruses spread, the worst-case figures would be staggering if no actions were taken to slow transmission.”

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“Between 160 million and 214 million people in the U.S. could be infected over the course of the epidemic, according to one projection. That could last months or even over a year, with infections concentrated in shorter periods, staggered across time in different communities, experts said. As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.”

“And, the calculations based on the C.D.C.’s scenarios suggested, 2.4 million to 21 million people in the United States could require hospitalization, potentially crushing the nation’s medical system, which has only about 925,000 staffed hospital beds. Fewer than a tenth of those are for people who are critically ill.”

“The assumptions fueling those scenarios are mitigated by the fact that cities, states, businesses and individuals are beginning to take steps to slow transmission, even if some are acting less aggressively than others. The C.D.C.-led effort is developing more sophisticated models showing how interventions might decrease the worst-case numbers, though their projections have not been made public.”

“When people change their behavior,” said Lauren Gardner, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering who models epidemics, “those model parameters are no longer applicable,” so short-term forecasts are likely to be more accurate. “There is a lot of room for improvement if we act appropriately.”

“Those actions include testing for the virus, tracing contacts, and reducing human interactions by stopping mass gatherings, working from home and curbing travel. In just the last two days, multiple schools and colleges closed, sports events were halted or delayed, Broadway theaters went dark, companies barred employees from going to the office and more people said they were following hygiene recommendations.”


“The Times obtained screenshots of the C.D.C. presentation, which hasn’t not been released publicly, from someone not involved in the meetings. The Times then verified the data with several scientists who did participate. The scenarios were marked valid until Feb. 28, but remain “roughly the same,” according to Ira Longini, co-director of the Center for Statistics and Quantitative Infectious Diseases at the University of Florida. He has joined in meetings of the group.”


“The assumptions in the C.D.C.’s 4 scenarios, and the new numerical projections, fall in the range of others developed by independent experts.”

“Dr. Longini said the scenarios he helped the C.D.C. refine had not been publicly disclosed because there remained uncertainty about certain key aspects, including how much transmission could occur from people who showed no symptoms or had only mild ones.”

“We’re being very, very careful to make sure we have scientifically valid modeling that’s drawing properly on the epidemic and what’s known about the virus,” he said, warning that simple calculations could be misleading or even dangerous. “You can’t win. If you overdo it, you panic everybody. If you underdo it, they get complacent. You have to be careful.”

An illustration of the “R naught” estimates for various diseases, including COVID-19 and the flu.

But without an understanding of how the nation’s top experts believe the virus could ravage the country, and what measures could slow it, it remains unclear how far Americans will go in adopting — or accepting — socially disruptive steps that could also avert deaths.”

“Dr. James Lawler, an infectious diseases specialist and public health expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (said) Hospitals “need to start working now,“to get prepared to take care of a heck of a lot of people.”

“Dr. Lawler presented his own “best guess” projections to American hospital and health system executives at a private webinar convened by the American Hospital Association. He estimated that some 96 million people in the United States would be infected. Five out of every hundred would need hospitalization, which would mean close to five million hospital admissions, nearly two million of those patients requiring intensive care and about half of those needing the support of ventilators.”

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“Dr. Lawler’s calculations suggested 480,000 deaths, which he said was conservative. By contrast, about 20,000 to 50,000 people have died from flu-related illnesses this season, according to the C.D.C. Unlike with seasonal influenza, the entire population is thought to be susceptible to the new coronavirus.”

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaking at a congressional hearing on 3/12/2020, said predictions based on models should be treated with caution. “All models are as good as the assumptions that you put into the model,” he said, responding to a question from Representative Rashida Tlaib about an estimate from the attending physician of Congress that the US could have 70 million to 150 million coronavirus cases.”

“What will determine the ultimate number, he said, “will be how you respond to it with containment and mitigation.”


“Independent experts said these projections were critically important to act on, and act on quickly. If new infections can be spread out over time rather than peaking all at once, there’ll be less burden on hospitals and a lower ultimate death count. Slowing the spread will paradoxically make the outbreak last longer, but will cause it to be much milder, the modelers said.”

“The Institute for Disease Modeling calculated that the new coronavirus is roughly equally transmissible as the 1918 flu, and just slightly less clinically severe, and it’s higher in both transmissibility and severity compared with all other flu viruses in the past century.”

Dr. Mecher and other researchers studied deaths during that pandemic a century ago, comparing the experiences of various cities, including what were then America’s third- and fourth-largest, Philadelphia and St Louis. In October of that year Dr. Rupert Blue, America’s surgeon general, urged local authorities to “close all public gathering places if their community is threatened with the epidemic,” such as schools, churches, and theaters. “There is no way to put a nationwide closing order into effect,” he wrote, “as this is a matter which is up to the individual communities.”

“The mayor of St. Louis took that advice, closing for several weeks “theaters, moving picture shows, schools, pool and billiard halls, Sunday schools, cabarets, lodges, societies, public funerals, open air meetings, dance halls and conventions until further notice.” The death rate rose, but stayed relatively flat over that autumn.”

“By contrast, Philadelphia took none of those measures; the epidemic there had started before Dr. Blue’s warning. Its death rate skyrocketed.”

“The speed and deadliness of the pandemic humbled doctors then much as the coronavirus pandemic is doing now. Some commented on the difficulty of getting healthy people to take personal precautions to help protect others at greater risk.”

“Modern societies have tools that did not exist then: advanced hospitals, the possibility of producing a vaccine in roughly a year, the production of diagnostics. “

“The world population is about triple the size it was the year before the 1918 flu, with 10 times as many people over 65 and 30 times as many over 85. These groups have proven especially likely to become critically ill and die in the current coronavirus pandemic. In Italy, hospitals are so overwhelmed that ventilators are being rationed.”

“It’s important that we protect them,” said Dr. Gabriel Leung, a professor in population health at Hong Kong University. In work accepted for publication in the journal Nature Medicine, he estimated that 1.5 percent of symptomatic people with the virus died. He and others who have devoted their careers to modeling said that looking at the experiences of other countries already battling the coronavirus was all it took to know what needed to be done in the US.

Link to article: The Worst-Case Estimate for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths as per nytimes.com