US passes grim virus milestone
More than six million Americans have contracted the coronavirus.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States surpassed six million cases on Monday and is far ahead of Brazil, which has the second-highest count at 3.8 million cases, and has more than the next six countries combined.
The sombre news comes as more than 847,000 people have died from COVID-19 across the world, with 183,000 of those deaths in the US.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Robert Redfield warned in June that the number of infected is likely an undercount, and for every case reported, there should be another 10 infections estimated.
The number of infections is also troubling news for health experts who expected August to be a relatively slow month in terms of people contracting COVID-19.
But given recent spikes in the US, that hope has slowly diminished as the month wore on.
"August should have been a slow month. We should have seen infection levels come down in July and August," former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb told CBS News Sunday.
"They didn't. We saw an epidemic cross over the Sun Belt (15 southern states), and we saw infections actually increase," he continued.
Although he pointed to a decline in case numbers and hospitalisation, he expects a huge spike this fall as schools attempt to reopen.
"As we head into September and October, kids back to school, people start to return to work, we're likely to see infections start to go up again," Dr Gottlieb said.
Recently, the World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the COVID-19 pandemic may last up to two years, likening it to the Spanish Flu, which similarly took as long to contain.
"We hope to finish this pandemic [in] less than two years, especially if we can pool our efforts," he said in Geneva last week. "That is really key with utilizing the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccine."
Experts have warned to be on the lookout for a number of symptoms that occur within days of contracting the coronavirus, starting with fever and muscle pain or difficulty breathing and ending with shortness of breath and respiratory distress - if not death - for those worst affected.
This article originally appeared on The U.S. Sun and is republished here with permission.
Originally published as US passes grim virus milestone