- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, on Thursday said the U.S. will likely see 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the next three months or so and that recent protests on police brutality are going to fuel more cases.

He said even without any spikes over the summer, there will continue to be 800 to 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths per day in the U.S.

“Over the next three months, we will cross the 200,000 mark,” Dr. Jha said on NBC’s “Today” program. “Sometime in September, we’re going to cross 200,000, and we still won’t be done.”

“I think protests are also going to fuel more cases,” he said. “The key here is that people do need to be wearing masks.”

Dr. Jha said recent upticks in cases in states such as Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Florida are concerning.

He pointed out that Memorial Day was about two weeks ago.

“This is what we were worried about,” he said. “I had hoped that the fact that people are spending more time outside, that it’s summer, we would not see such a big increase so fast. It’s more concerning than I had hoped we would get at this point.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said warmer weather in places like Arizona and Texas might be having a “reverse” seasonal effect.

“It’s a hundred degrees in Phoenix right now, 95 degrees in Houston, so people are being driven indoors more, so you’re having more congregate settings inside and that could also be contributing to the spread,” he said on MSNBC.

Dr. Gottlieb said mitigation measures like universal mask-wearing can help slow the spread.

“I think people need to try to shrink down their social circles a little bit and try and take fewer trips to the store — all the things that you could do to try to limit social interactions while still going out and about,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence deleted a Wednesday tweet that featured a picture of himself with a large group of maskless Trump campaign staffers packed closely together in an indoor office building.

There are now more than 2 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 112,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. population is more than 300 million.

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