According to data from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the novel coronavirus has been killing Americans at a higher rate than heart disease and cancer since Wednesday, and will likely continue to do so for the next week.
On Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned that this week would be "the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives," as projections indicated that the U.S. was nearing peak healthcare resource use. With hospital beds filling up quickly and vital medical equipment in short supply, the IHME projected that the next two weeks would be the deadliest of the coronavirus pandemic between now and August.
The U.S. reported on Wednesday a one-day increase of 1,943 deaths linked to COVID-19, according to the IHME. Since that day, the U.S. has reported an average of 1,894 deaths per day linked to the coronavirus.
To put that in perspective, the CDC estimated that 647,000 Americans die of heart disease each year, or about 1,773 a day. In 2016--the latest year that data was available-- the CDC reported 598,031 deaths linked to cancer, or about 1,638 a day.
The IHME currently projects U.S. deaths to peak at about 2,200 a day on Saturday before tapering off, as Americans build herd immunity and hospital resources free up.
The spike in COVID-19 deaths has been most evident in New York state, which has reported a record increase in coronavirus deaths for three straight days. On Thursday, New York reported a one-day increase of 799 deaths.
While daily death counts linked to COVID-19 continue to increase, there have been some encouraging signs. While the IHME was projecting 100,000 U.S. deaths linked to the coronavirus last week, the model now shows a projected death toll of about 60,000. New York has reported that hospitalizations linked to the coronavirus have been steadily dropping, and officials in Ohio said Thursday that social distancing has "squashed" the "curve" in the state.