President Trump’s surprisingly sober press conference on Monday was reportedly sparked by a British study suggesting that the U.S. could face 2.2 million fatalities if the coronavirus epidemic goes unabated.
The report — embedded below — was put together by a team of epidemiologists at Imperial College London.
Though it has not been peer-reviewed, the report made shockwaves after being sent to the White House on Sunday, its lead author, epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, told the Times.
Below are highlights from the report.
- An unmitigated epidemic could lead to 2.2 million deaths in the U.S., with a peak of cases in late June or early July.
- Social distancing would likely be effective at slowing or preventing the spread of the epidemic, but such measures would have to remain in place until a vaccine is found and sufficient portions of the world population can be immunized to prevent further spread.
- Temporarily suppressing the spread of the epidemic through mass social distancing could lead to more people being infected later on. The success of early efforts to limit the spread reduces herd immunity, the report contends.
- Even less extreme measures like mitigation — which would mean that only vulnerable populations like the elderly or those with preexisting conditions socially distanced — would result in a catastrophic surge of the healthcare system.
Read the report here: