The U.S. now has “a stable” number of cases of COVID-19 and related deaths. But the country is only at the “end of the beginning” of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Health authorities record around 30,000 new patients with COVID-19 and 2,000 deaths linked to the disease every day. Inglesby said the consistent increase indicates a national “plateau” in new cases and fatalities across the country.
But the U.S. is still far from the end of the pandemic. Without widespread testing, more people may continue to get the coronavirus.
“I would say we are maybe near the end of the beginning of the pandemic in this country,” Inglesby told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “We have a plateau in new cases per day, unfortunately, it’s a very high plateau.”
He made the remarks after Vice President Mike Pence expressed confidence that by Memorial Day Weekend on May 25, the country “will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.” That means states may be able to end stay-at-home restrictions and slowly start to reopen, Business Insider reported.
However, Inglesby said the vice president’s prediction sounds too optimistic. The Johns Hopkins official said affected areas have different stages of finding new cases of coronavirus.
“At this point, if you go state by state you see that in about half of the country the numbers are still rising day to day, about another third seems to be a leveling off and in a minority of the country the numbers are going down day by day,” Inglesby said.
He added that with the current situation the U.S. is unlikely to see a widespread reopening by May. It may only be safe to allow citizens to return to normal lives when a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available.
Health experts even fear that the world may not fully eliminate the novel coronavirus. Inglesby along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-disease expert at the White House, believe that the virus could potentially become “seasonal” in the future.