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Global Times

20-30% of US population may potentially be infected in one year: researcher

Global Times

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/26 17:32:33

Chinese scientists predicted that 20-30 percent of the US population may potentially be infected in one year as the US recorded the highest single day spike in COVID-19 infections on Thursday and its CDC chief said coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported.

Chinese experts believe that the continuing large-scale domestic protests, premature reopening and the presidential campaigns escalated the severity of the outbreak.

CDC Director Robert Redfield indicated Thursday that at least 24 million Americans, 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases, may have been infected so far, the Washington Post reported.

The US reported over 40,000 new cases on Thursday, a record single day increase.

Liang Manchun, an associate research fellow at the Institute for Public Safety Research of Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Friday that the infection data reflected a new peak of the outbreak emerging in the country and the startling increase of coronavirus cases has reversed the previous downward trend.

"Some states in the country have for now made good progress on flattening the curve of infection, others have seen cases surge again which has caused the new peak," Liang noted.

Any one of the US states, which could prevent and control the pandemic seriously, could flatten the curve of infection within three to four months, Liang said.

Liang noted the development of the US' epidemic is currently different from their predictions.

About one month ago, they predicted the epidemic development in the US could be similar to that of some European countries such as Italy.

However, Liang said the prediction modelling was based on the US sticking to corresponding proper pandemic control and prevention work.

Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the surge of cases in the US is a result of the country's chaotic situation and the Trump administration's missteps.

The officials focused largely on pursuing short-term economic and political interests, while playing up human rights despite its disregard for life, Ni said.

Based on the current situation, Liang predicted that all states in the US could experience a continued outbreak over the next year as the epidemic ebbs in some states while intensifies in others.

Then about 20-30 percent of the US population is likely to have been infected by the coronavirus in one year, Liang said, noting that when the number of cases reach 10-20 percent, the infection speed would slow down.

But Liang said that situation may change due to the complex and changing realities such as when a vaccine can be developed, the country's situation after the presidential election in November and the development of the nationwide protests.

However, unlike China, the US will find it hard to rid itself of coronavirus before a vaccine or specific medicine is developed as the country fails to carry out very strict anti-epidemic measures, he said.

Ni Feng said the worsening epidemic reflected Trump weighing political performance more than people's lives and a struggle to win the election "by whatever means" without much care given to controlling the outbreak.

What the US government wants is to restore the economy, and the resumption of economic activities without preventive measures is bound to lead to a wild spread of the epidemic and strike a new blow to their economy, Ni said.

He said the US should focus its attention on the pandemic and domestic situation, instead of shifting the blame to other countries.

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