Coronavirus

Experts fear "deadly December" with 30,000 coronavirus deaths a day

A study carried out by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts 2.8 million Covid-19 deaths by the end of the year.

Experts fear "deadly December" with 30,000 coronavirus deaths a day

A study carried out by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) suggests that the number of Covid-19-related deaths globally could rise by almost two million by the end of the year with some 30,000 daily deaths worldwide in December alone. In a worst-case scenario, the IHME predicts that four million people could lose their lives due to Covid-19 by the end of the year. 

The IHME evaluation is the first global forecast of its kind to analyse the overall impact of the novel coronavirus and paints a grim outlook for what could be in store for the world in what remains of 2020 with winter approaching in the northern hemisphere.

“These first-ever worldwide projections by country offer a daunting forecast as well as a roadmap toward relief from Covid-19 that government leaders as well as individuals can follow,” said IHME Director Dr Christopher Murray. “We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus.” 

Worst-case scenario predicts four million deaths by January

The study laid out three possible scenarios based on current developments worldwide. In a worst-case scenario where governments continue to ease restrictions and mask usage remains on the same level as now, there could be four million deaths by the end of the year. In the best-case scenario where government's impose social distancing measures and mask usage is widespread, the number falls to two million. In the case that the situation remains the same as it is now in terms of lockdown easing and mask usage, the IHME predicts 2.8 million deaths by January.

The IHME also predicted the total number of deaths in each WHO global region. The countries with the highest per capita number of Covid-19 related fatalities according to the most likely scenario envisaged by the independent research centre are the US Virgin Islands, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Americas could see one million deaths by end of the year

The report predicts 959,685 total deaths by January 1 in the Region of the Americas, 667,811 in the European Region, 79,583 in the African Region, 168,711 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 738,427 in the South-East Asia Region, and 191,598 in the Western Pacific Region.

However, the report also stated that based on the best-case scenario, 770,000 lives could be saved globally if people respect social distancing measures and wear masks to help prevent the spread of the disease.