After roughly a month of federally recommended social distancing and state-imposed lockdowns, the Washington Examiner‘s editorial board thinks “we’re turning the corner on the coronavirus.”
In an editorial published Saturday, the paper’s editorial board said the future looks promising — even in parts of the country hit hardest by COVID-19. “Even as New York reported several straight days of nearly 800 deaths, new hospitalizations have plummeted, from a peak above 1,400 on April 2 to 200 a week later,” the Examiner reported Saturday. “This suggests that vastly fewer people are getting sick.”
The report went on: “Also, for the first time since the start of the outbreak, the number of net admissions to intensive care units turned negative on Thursday. More people are leaving critical care than are being put into critical care.”
Bracing for the worst
The Examiner‘s editorial board began their weekend op-ed recounting the grim outlook health officials had given ahead of last week.
“We were told to brace ourselves for the worst,” they wrote. “And there’s no doubt that this past week brought lots of bad news. The number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 is approaching 20,000. The illness has been killing more people per day than any other condition, surpassing cancer and heart disease. In New York City, about twice as many people have now been killed by the coronavirus as those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”
As of Sunday evening, the U.S. had more than 554,000 confirmed cases of the disease, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
“Yet amid all the bad news, this was also the week that brought evidence that we’re starting to turn the corner,” the Examiner’s board wrote. They reported further:
Hot spots remain in cities, including Detroit and New Orleans. But after rapidly growing in March, the number of new cases in the United States as a whole has been growing at around 30,000 per day during April. So, while overall infections are still rising, the pace of growth has been falling.
Are we out of the woods?
The development comes amid widespread lockdowns across the nation. Nearly all states have imposed some restrictions on travel and commerce, as the Wall Street Journal reports, with some governors cracking down more harshly than others.
But is it all working? The Examiner‘s report provides a glimmer of hope — as do new comments from Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top adviser on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and the head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
According to NPR, Fauci “says that the American public’s embrace of physical separation and other restrictions is sharply reducing projections of the death toll from the respiratory virus.”
The White House had predicted as many as 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19. But according to NPR, “the final toll currently ‘looks more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000’ that U.S. officials previously estimated, Fauci said.”
Of course, it remains too early to know for sure, and prematurely easing off of the widespread restrictions could easily result in a resurgence of the virus. If current trends hold, however, it might be time to consider letting the U.S. economy get back up on its feet.
We might not be out of the woods yet, but if these reports hold water, we may be on the path out.