How Americans can help prevent another 100,000 coronavirus deaths

Article Image

CNN's Wolf Blitzer pays tribute to those who have died of Covid-19 as the United States death toll surpasses 100,000.

Posted: May 28, 2020 3:11 PM
Updated: May 28, 2020 3:11 PM

No one wants to see another horrific milestone like the one reached this week.

The US death toll from coronavirus topped 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That means an average of almost 900 Americans died each day since the first known coronavirus-related death almost four months ago.

While the number of new cases each day is slowly declining in parts of the US, the death toll keeps rising.

But there are ways to help minimize future tragedies. People should socialize outdoors as much as possible and wear masks, scientists say.

Coronavirus generally doesn't spread outdoors as easily as it does indoors. But there's still a risk with any cramped crowd -- especially because the virus can spread by just talking.

So those socializing with friends outdoors should still stay at least 6 feet apart, said Erin Bromage, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

"As long as you've got that 6 feet of distance and you've got the air blowing and you just are enjoying each other's company, then 6 feet is fine," Bromage said. "If you're exercising and huffing and puffing away from 6 feet, I would get a little further apart."

And a growing chorus of doctors and researchers say wearing face coverings is critical to helping stop the spread of coronavirus -- especially because many carriers of the virus don't even know they're infected.

"If you put a mask on when outside [while] spending an extended period of time with a friend or somebody, masks help," Bromage said.

"A standard mask, the ones that we've been making, cut things down by 50%. I wear it to protect you, you wear it to protect me," he said.

"But now we're getting better masks coming out from just local manufacturers that catch more of those respiratory emissions, which then lowers the amount of virus in the air, which just makes it safer."

If you're interacting with someone who's more vulnerable to severe complications from Covid-19, Bromage advises having "a better quality mask on both you and them."

6 feet of distance may not be enough, experts warn

For months, health officials have urged people to stay 6 feet apart to slow its spread through respiratory droplets. But three experts are now warning that 6 feet may not be enough.

In a commentary published in the journal Science, the experts highlighted the importance of masks and regular, widespread testing.

They pointed to places such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where mask wearing is universal and the virus has been controlled.

"Evidence suggests that [the novel coronavirus] is silently spreading in aerosols exhaled by highly contagious infected individuals with no symptoms," wrote Chia Wang of National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, and Kimberly Prather and Dr. Robert Schooley of the University of California, San Diego.

"Increasing evidence for [the coronavirus] suggests the six-foot WHO recommendation is likely not enough under many indoor conditions where aerosols can remain airborne for hours, accumulate over time and follow air flows over distances farther than six feet," they wrote.

The three experts are specialists in chemistry and infectious diseases. They said aerosols from breathing and speaking can accumulate and remain infectious in indoor air for hours, and can be easily inhaled into the lungs.

That makes wearing masks all the more essential, they said, even when people are keeping their distance.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes "can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs."

Transmission is more likely when people are in close contact with one another, or "within about 6 feet," the CDC said.

While health officials have focused on those three droplets, the three experts said "a large proportion" of the spread of coronavirus disease appears to be occurring through airborne transmission of aerosols produced by asymptomatic people during breathing and speaking.

You asked, we're answering: Your top coronavirus questions

Change of behavior is more crucial than a vaccine

The US did not have to lose 100,000 people in four months, according to an expert on viruses and biotechnology.

Better preparation and guidance could have helped lower the death toll, said Dr. William Haseltine, president of the think tank ACCESS Health International.

"We already know how to control the virus in a big population. It can be done through human behavior," the former professor at Harvard Medical School said.

Experts had worked with the US Department of Defense and Homeland Security to plan and protect the country from bioterrorism, as well as from threats like the coronavirus.

"It was totally predictable that another coronavirus was on its way," Haseltine said. "The mechanism exists, the stockpile, the drugs," he said. "There was a hole in our safety net."

China, New Zealand, and Australia have effectively dealt with coronavirus outbreaks, bringing their cases down through testing, contact tracing and isolation, Haseltine said.

The key to their success was behavior change without the benefit of a vaccine or effective drug.

States are seeing up and down trends in new cases

Some parts of the country are reporting fewer new cases each day, but others are seeing the opposite.

Track the virus in your state and nationwide

Washington, DC will move Friday into Phase 1 of reopening after it had a 14-day decline in cases of coronavirus community spread, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

But as of Wednesday, there were 14 states in which the numbers of new cases each day were still trending upward.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves warned residents to stay vigilant because the state is still seeing a steady number of cases.

California became the fourth state Wednesday with more than 100,000 cases. New York, New Jersey and Illinois were the first three to reach the milestone.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45594

Reported Deaths: 2640
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11329679
Lake4847239
Elkhart304143
Allen2649110
St. Joseph183065
Cass16369
Hamilton1463100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1232118
Porter68036
Madison64263
Tippecanoe6338
Clark61644
Bartholomew57844
Howard54256
LaPorte53425
Kosciusko4842
LaGrange4566
Jackson4543
Noble43428
Delaware42548
Boone42142
Hancock41835
Shelby41425
Vanderburgh4136
Marshall4093
Floyd36244
Morgan31831
Grant28526
Montgomery28520
Clinton2792
Dubois2596
White25710
Monroe24428
Decatur24332
Henry23515
Lawrence22924
Vigo2228
Harrison20822
Dearborn20322
Warrick19629
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16910
Putnam1658
DeKalb1574
Scott1547
Daviess13816
Orange13323
Wayne1276
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1188
Ripley1127
Carroll1082
Jasper1072
Wabash1072
Fayette957
Newton9410
Whitley794
Randolph764
Huntington702
Starke683
Jay670
Wells671
Fulton661
Jefferson641
Washington641
Knox620
Clay594
Pulaski591
Rush563
Benton470
Adams451
Sullivan451
Owen431
Gibson412
Brown381
Blackford352
Posey320
Spencer301
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain282
Switzerland240
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike60
Unassigned0192

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51789

Reported Deaths: 2863
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin9148404
Cuyahoga6831364
Hamilton5010198
Marion272638
Lucas2600301
Pickaway217041
Summit1953205
Mahoning1741228
Montgomery170425
Butler140544
Columbiana120560
Stark1042112
Lorain94767
Trumbull83462
Warren73821
Clark7298
Belmont52821
Tuscarawas50710
Delaware49415
Fairfield48116
Medina48032
Miami43731
Lake43317
Ashtabula42043
Portage41258
Licking40411
Geauga38742
Wood37651
Wayne35352
Clermont3476
Richland3145
Allen29338
Mercer2708
Darke23425
Erie22822
Greene2089
Holmes2023
Madison1878
Huron1701
Crawford1356
Ottawa12923
Washington12420
Sandusky12213
Morrow1141
Putnam11316
Hardin11112
Ross1072
Auglaize993
Monroe8517
Union771
Coshocton761
Hancock761
Hocking767
Jefferson762
Muskingum731
Williams652
Lawrence630
Preble621
Clinton610
Guernsey593
Logan581
Shelby584
Wyandot584
Fulton570
Ashland531
Brown521
Carroll513
Fayette460
Defiance453
Highland421
Knox391
Champaign371
Scioto350
Athens331
Seneca332
Perry301
Henry290
Van Wert240
Paulding230
Vinton222
Adams211
Pike200
Jackson170
Gallia141
Harrison121
Meigs110
Morgan90
Noble90
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
Angola
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 72°
Hot Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events