CDC Director Robert Redfeld said on Thursday that he expects deaths from the coronavirus to begin dropping next week after several weeks of lower new case numbers and improvement in several large states that had spikes of cases in June and July.
“You and I are going to see the cases continue to drop. And then hopefully this week and next week, you’re going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop again,” Redfeld said in a video interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Currently, around 1,000 deaths per day have been attributed to the coronavirus, which is higher than late May and June but lower than the peak of deaths in late April and early May.
Parts of Midwest seem “stuck” in spike
Redfeld noted that deaths are a “lagging indicator” by three to four weeks in the pandemic and that new case numbers have been falling for several weeks now.
He attributed the decline in cases to people following mask-wearing and social distancing measures as well as other official recommendations in southern states with spikes.
While southern states are mitigating spikes, Redfeld said, there are some worrisome trends in Midwestern states, where numbers that began to spike a few weeks ago have yet to come down.
Next concern: flu season
Redfeld said that the upcoming flu season could make the winter “complicated,” and that he did have some concern about the coronavirus and flu together.
One caveat to his concerns, however, was that the same precautions people have been taking to combat the coronavirus should also decrease cases of the flu.
While pushing flu vaccinations even more than usual, Redfeld said he was optimistic that this could be “one of the best flu seasons” if people are continuing measures like wearing masks and social distancing.
Redfeld did not address the potential that flu deaths would be mislabeled as coronavirus because of additional government payments in place for coronavirus deaths, however.
I think we can expect to see a lot of deaths being labeled COVID-19 as long as hospitals are getting extra money for that label–but that’s just me applying common sense to the situation.