More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu
Michael James, USA TODAY
3 hrs ago
The U.S. topped 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day for the first time Wednesday, a daily death toll more than double that of two of America's most deadly illnesses – lung cancer and the flu.
Death counts from the virus are difficult to keep up to date, but the Johns Hopkins coronavirus database – whose sources include the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the European CDC and the National Health Commission of China – shows that the U.S. hit 1,040 cases Wednesday at 10:25 p.m. ET. Since the virus' first appearance in the U.S. in late January, 5,116 people have died and more than 215,000 have been infected.
Greg Lovett, The Palm Beach Post/ USA TODAY Network Healthcare worker Ludnie Emile prepares to test people for COVID-19 at their drive-thru coronavirus testing station in Palm Springs, Fla. on March 19, 2020.
The previous high mark for a single day in the U.S. was Tuesday, with 504 deaths.
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Some researchers say the daily death toll could more than double – to 2,200 or more – by mid-April. That figure would eclipse heart disease, the nation's No. 1 killer with about 1,772 deaths per day, according to the CDC .
“Our country is in the midst of a great national trial,” President Donald Trump said in a White House briefing on the virus. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.”
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Lung cancer kills 433 people each day in the U.S. – that's the same number of seats on a Boeing 747 airplane, according to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America. Breast cancer kills about 116 Americans a day .
The flu, a chronic killer that the nation has come to expect in yearly cycles – and the reason millions of Americans get flu shots – killed an estimated 508 people per day in the U.S. during the 2017-18 flu season, the nation's worst in the last decade, according to the CDC. This year's flu season has recorded an average of 383 deaths per day, CDC figures show.
While health officials say COVID-19 is considered a flash medical event in that it is unlikely to maintain its deadly hold for more than three or four months, the 1,000 threshold is a significant one because it shows just how potent an unforeseen outbreak can be on the U.S. medical system.
It also raises questions about COVID-19's possible deadly effects over time. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has cautioned that the virus could become a recurring event, much like the flu. He said that the U.S. needs to get ready for the next cycle, possibly to occur in the fall of 2020.
"We really need to be prepared for another cycle," Fauci said.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized the need to continue developing a vaccine and test it quickly so it will be available "for that next cycle."
A University of Washington study updated this week projects that if the entire nation makes an all-out effort to restrict contact, coronavirus deaths will peak in the next two weeks and patients will overwhelm hospitals in most states.
Nationally, the University of Washington model predicts a peak daily death toll of 2,214 in mid-April, and a total of 84,000 Americans dead by the end of summer. That’s more than twice the lives claimed during the 2018-19 flu season, which killed 34,000 people, according to the CDC.
But that figure represents the model’s most likely estimate. The range of scenarios spans from 36,000 COVID-19 deaths to more than 152,000, according to the research team led by Christopher Murray, founder and chair of the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.
As many as 240,000 Americans may die from the new coronavirus according to estimates released by the White House on Tuesday, a grim prediction that influenced President Donald Trump's decision to extend social distancing guidelines.
Slide 1 of 50: The marquee for the Iowa Theater, closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, is seen on John Wayne Drive, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Winterset, Iowa. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (
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The world is battling the COVID-19 outbreak that the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, which has claimed more than 4,720 lives and infected more than 211,698 people in the U.S.
(Pictured) The marquee for the Iowa Theater, closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, is seen on John Wayne Drive on April 1 in Winterset, Iowa.
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People wait in a line to get into a Trader Joe's grocery store on April 1 in Washington, D.C.
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Visitors waiting to collect free food outside the Bowery Mission are instructed to wash their hands at a kiosk due to coronavirus outbreak on April 1 in New York.
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U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is interviewed by CNN about the government response to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic on April 1 in Washington D.C.
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Civilian nurses contracted by the Florida Department of Health gather before the start of testing for Covid-19 at the Regional Temporary Drive-Through Testing Site on April 1 in Orlando, Florida.
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Cots are set up at a possible COVID-19 treatment site on April 1 in San Mateo, California.
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Basketball rims have been removed from the hoops at a Department of Parks and Recreation basketball court on April 1 in Washington, DC.
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Viv Brown, left, with the Women Supporting Women's support group, and Sandy Dorsainvil, right, with the City of Miami, package tomatoes during a food distribution event on April 1 in Liberty City, Miami on April 1.
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Metro station is shown nearly empty due to the impacts of coronavirus on March 31 in Washington, DC.
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President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 31 in Washington D.C.
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The Sovran family stands outside their front door shining flashlights towards their nearest hospital during the first night of 'Home Beams for Health Care Teams' to show support for healthcare workers battling coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beverly Hills, Michigan on March 31.
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A pedestrian wearing a facemask walks past an H&R Block tax preparation office as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Seattle, Washington on March 31.
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The police officer Deserie Broussard ensures people maintain social distancing by remaining six feet apart, as meals are distributed at the Lantern Light Ministry at the Rebuild Center, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 31.
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Washington D.C. Street and Metro station are shown nearly empty due to the impacts of coronavirus on March 31.
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Pastor Tony Spell speaks to media after holding an evening service at the Life Tabernacle Church in Los Angeles, California on March 31. Spell did so despite being charged with misdemeanors today, for holding services against Gov. John Bel Edwards shelter-in-place order due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
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A New York City Medical Examiner truck parks outside NYU Langone Hospital, where several trailers are being used as a morgue, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in New York City, New York on March 31.
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A closed tattoo shop is boarded up closed amid concerns of COVID-19 spreading in Dallas, Texas on March 31.
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A person crosses a bridge in front of the Mount Sinai logo at Mt. Sinai Hospital on March 31 in New York.
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A woman jogs along a mostly empty National Mall on March 31 in Washington, D.C.
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A worker checks part of a delivery of 64 hospital beds from Hillrom to The Mount Sinai Hospital during the outbreak of the coronavirus in Manhattan, New York on March 31.
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Passersby stop to peer in to CenturyLink Field Event Center, which is being turned into a military field hospital for non-coronavirus patients during the coronavirus outbreak in Seattle, Washington on March 30.
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Caution tape and zip ties are used to stop children from playing on swings during the coronavirus outbreak, at a park in Seattle, Washington on March 30
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A healthcare worker sits on a bench near Central Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Mar. 30.
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U.S. President Donald Trump examines a coronavirus testing kit as he prepares to speak during the daily coronavirus response briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Mar. 30.
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A nurse takes part in a candlelight vigil outside UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center to "show solidarity and support for nurses across the nation and to demand stronger leadership from the federal government in protecting the health and safety of all healthcare workers and their patients," according to event organizers, in Los Angeles, California, Mar. 30.
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The One World Trade Center is illuminated in red, white and blue in recognition of the ongoing nationwide effort to combat coronavirus during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, as it is seen from Exchange Place, New Jersey, March 30, 2020.
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A portrait of President George Washington hangs as people give blood at a donation center inside the White House East Room replica at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum to help with a shortage of blood donations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Yorba Linda, California, Mar. 30.
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People wait in line to be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while wearing protective gear, outside Elmhurst Hospital Center in the Queens borough of New York City, Mar. 30.
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A man walks with a face mask past a mural amid an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in San Francisco, California, Mar. 30.
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People arrive at a temporary homeless shelter with painted social-distancing boxes in a parking lot at Cashman Center on Mar. 30, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada was closed last week after a homeless man who used their services tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving about 500 people with no overnight shelter. The city of Las Vegas, Clark County and local homeless providers plan to operate the shelter through April 3rd when it is anticipated that the Catholic Charities facility will be back open. The city is also reserving the building spaces at Cashman Center in case of an overflow of hospital patients.
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A container ship is seen as hundreds of shipping containers are seen stacked at a pier at the Port of New York and New Jersey in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Mar. 30.
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A sign about the coronavirus is displayed over Route 50 in Davidsonville, Maryland on March 30.
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Beds are set out in rows at the Federal Medical Station for hospital surge capacity set up at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on March 30.
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to members of the press after the arrival of the USNS Comfort hospital to Pier 90 on the Hudson RIver on March 30 in New York City.
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A Pittsburgh Public Works employee removes a basketball rim from a court on the Northside of Pittsburgh on March 30. The rims were removed because people were not following social distancing rules while using the courts over the weekend.
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DeliverLean employee Victoria Rua prepares meals to be distributed to senior citizens as part of an emergency meal program in Miami-Dade County during the coronavirus pandemic on March 30 in Hollywood, Florida.
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Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30.
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A huge thank you sign placed in front of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York City on March 30 to thank all hospital workers helping to fight coronavirus.
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Healthcare professionals prepare to screen people for the coronavirus at a testing site erected by the Maryland National Guard in a parking lot at FedEx Field on March 30 in Landover, Maryland.
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the US Army Corps of Engineers and the state are putting up a 250-bed field hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas during a press conference in Austin, Texas Sunday, March 29, 2020. The space can expand to nearly 1,400 beds. Joining him was former State Representative Dr. John Zerwas (left) and Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD. (
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A grocery store worker is protected by a shield at a Vons store on March 29 in Solana Beach, California.
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A new makeshift morgue is set outside Lenox Health Medical Pavilion on March 29 in New York City.
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An empty Lexington Avenue is seen in New York City.
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People walk around an almost empty Grand Central Terminal on March 29.
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People walk on the beach next to State Route 1 amid an outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), along the Pacific coastline outside of Big Sur, on March 29 in California.
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Empty shelving of toilet paper and paper towels is shown at a Target store on March 29 in Encinitas, California.
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A mural that reads "state of emergency" with a dollar-sign is pictured in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 29 in Seattle, Washington.
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A woman is seen during check-in at Miami International Airport on March 29 in Miami.
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Javits Convention Center that has been converted to hospital due to Covid-19 pandemic is seen in New York City on March 29.
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President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, on March 29, in Washington.
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The daily coronavirus death toll likely won’t dip below 100 before June 11, the study predicts.
Coronavirus symptoms can be confused with that of the flu and, indeed, the two viruses have similar effects. Tracking the flu has been equally troublesome for health officials. The CDC says the burden of influenza disease in the United States can vary widely and is determined by a number of factors including the characteristics of circulating viruses, the timing of the flu season, how well vaccines are working and how many people got vaccinated.
Health experts say the future of the coronavirus depends on such factors as whether humans develop increasing immunity to it and whether an effective vaccine is developed. If neither occurs, the virus will likely continue to circulate and establish itself as a common respiratory virus like the flu.
The CDC estimates that the flu has resulted in 9 million to 45 million illnesses, 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.
Contributing: Katie Wedell, Erin Mansfield and Dinah Pulver, USA TODAY Network
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu