US hospitals are preparing for 96 million coronavirus infections and nearly half a million deaths from the outbreak, leaked documents have revealed. People are pictured wearing face masks in Times Square, New York on March 3

US hospitals are preparing for 96 million coronavirus infections and nearly half a million deaths from the outbreak, leaked documents have revealed. People are pictured wearing face masks in Times Square, New York on March 3

 

  • Almost half a million (480,000) Americans are expected to die from coronavirus 
  • 4.8 million will be hospitalized and 96 million infected
  • Figures come from leaked slides from a presentation by Dr. James Lawler, a University of Nebraska Medical Center professor and hosted by AHA
  • They show the spread of the deadly disease could be far worse than officials claim, with the crisis 10 times greater than a severe flu season
  • The shock figures fly in the face of claims made by President Trump who has maintained on many occasions that the risk to Americans is ‘low’
  • Lawler estimated people with heart conditions have a one in 10 chance of dying from the disease, compared to less than one in a 100 among healthy individuals 
  • Trump signed a spending bill to allocate $8.3 billion to tackle the crisis Friday
  • US has more than 430 cases and 19 confirmed deaths, after Florida confirmed its first two deaths Friday

US hospitals are preparing for 96 million coronavirus infections and nearly half a million deaths from the outbreak, leaked documents have revealed.

The spread of the deadly disease could be far worse than officials claim, with 480,000 Americans expected to die from the virus and 4.8 million hospitalized, according to a presentation hosted by The American Hospital Association (AHA) in February.

This puts the crisis on a level more than 10 times greater than that seen in a severe flu season.

The shock figures fly in the face of claims made by President Trump who has maintained on many occasions that the risk to Americans is ‘low’.

Dr. James Lawler, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, presented the harrowing ‘best guess’ estimates of the extent of the outbreak to hospitals and health professionals as part of the AHA webinar called ‘What healthcare leaders need to know: Preparing for the COVID-19’ on February 26.

The slides, obtained by Business Insider, suggest that hospitals need to ramp up preparations now to reduce the death toll around the US.

At the time of the presentation last week, there were more than 80,000 confirmed cases around the globe.

At the time, the US had around 60 cases and no deaths. Fast forward just one week, and the US has more than 430 cases and 19 confirmed deaths.

Worldwide, more than 100,000 people have now been infected.

The spread of the deadly disease could be far worse than officials claim, with 480,000 Americans expected to die from the virus and 4.8 million hospitalized, according to estimates from University of Nebraska professor Dr. James Lawler. People are pictured buying hand sanitizer in Washington DC Friday

The spread of the deadly disease could be far worse than officials claim, with 480,000 Americans expected to die from the virus and 4.8 million hospitalized, according to estimates from University of Nebraska professor Dr. James Lawler. People are pictured buying hand sanitizer in Washington DC Friday

These figures put the crisis on a level 10 times greater than that seen in a severe flu season. The shock figures fly in the face of claims made by President Trump who has maintained on many occasions that the risk to Americans is 'low'

These figures put the crisis on a level 10 times greater than that seen in a severe flu season. The shock figures fly in the face of claims made by President Trump who has maintained on many occasions that the risk to Americans is ‘low’

The leaked slides also reveal the significant risks to older people and those with pre-existing health conditions if they catch coronavirus.

People aged 80 and over have a 14.8% chance of dying if they contract the infection, the slides revealed.

The risk declines with youth, though those aged 70-79 and 60-69 are still placed at a significant risk, with 8% and 3.6% mortality rates respectively.

Lawler also estimated that people with heart conditions have a one in 10 chance of dying from the disease, compared to the less than one in a 100 chance among healthy individuals with no pre-existing medical conditions.

A spokesman for Nebraska Medicine told Business Insider that the figures represent the views of Lawler and ‘his interpretation of the data available’

‘It’s possible that forecast will change as more information becomes available,’ they said.

The AHA added that the views were the speaker’s and not its own.

President Trump, who has faced criticism for downplaying the risk of the disease, signed a spending bill to allocate $8.3 billion to tackle the crisis Friday

President Trump, who has faced criticism for downplaying the risk of the disease, signed a spending bill to allocate $8.3 billion to tackle the crisis Friday

The president holds a photograph of coronavirus at the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta Friday. The new funding measure provides money for public health agencies for tests, vaccines and other treatments

The president holds a photograph of coronavirus at the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta Friday. The new funding measure provides money for public health agencies for tests, vaccines and other treatments

President Trump signs $8.3B bill to battle coronavirus

However, Lawler isn’t the first to warn that the disease could spread farther than first thought.

Harvard University Professor Marc Lipsitch previously told The Atlantic that up to 70% of the global population will be infected with coronavirus within the next year.

Lawler did not give a particular timeframe for the outbreak but his estimates ramp up fears that the disease could push US hospitals to their limits.

President Trump, who has faced criticism for downplaying the risk of the disease, signed a spending bill to allocate $8.3 billion to tackle the crisis.

The president only asked Congress for just above $2 billion but they rejected that and both houses passed an $8.3 billion spending bill Friday.

While the figure more than triples the amount outlined by the White House last month, Democrat rivals have slammed Trump saying it’s too little, too late.

The new funding measure provides money for public health agencies for tests, vaccines and other treatments.

It will also provide money to state and local governments to respond to the epidemic.

 

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