“What also has been encouraging … We see for the first time that in the United States we’re starting to level on the logarithmic phase like Italy did about a week ago,” Birx said at the White House.
The logarithmic phase Birx referred to is a visual representation of how quickly the number of total cases doubles over time. Birx noted that the leveling off is due in large part to the positive signs from New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.
“Remember, for a long time they were over 50 percent of our cases and 50 percent of our new cases,” Birx said. “That has dramatically changed because of the impact of what the citizens of New York and New Jersey and across Connecticut and now Rhode Island are doing to really change the course of this pandemic and really change the trajectory of new cases.”
The flattening of the growth rate is in line with a revised model the White House relies on which now predicts that at a minimum 60,000 people may die from COVID-19 in the United States. That figure is sharply lower than the 100,000 projection the White House publicized not long ago.
Birx cautioned that while the rate of growth is slowing, the outbreak is still not at its peak. She encouraged Americans to continue the federal social distancing guidelines as well as the local measures.
“It’s really about the encouraging signs that we see. As encouraging as they are, we have not seen the peak,” Birx said. “And so every day we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that because that’s what in the end is going to take us up across the peak and down the other side.”
The United States reported nearly 500,000 confirmed cases of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus on April 10, according to data from Johns Hopkins. More than 18,000 people succumbed to COVID-19 in the United States.
Both Birx and President Donald Trump pointed out that the fatality rate from COVID-19 in the United States is far lower than many other countries when adjusted for population.
“In the midst of grief and pain we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives,” Trump said.
The president said that the number of lives is “horrible” there are signs of hope from New York, where the net number of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions decreased for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.
“That’s usually the sign that it’s heading on the downward curve,” Trump said.
“Nationwide, the number of new cases per day is flattening substantially, suggesting that we are near the peak and our comprehensive strategy is working,” the president added. “Overtime our guidelines to slow the spread are decreasing the rate of new cases very substantially and will result in fewer hospital admissions.”
New York hospitals recorded more COVID-19 patients leaving ICUs than those that entered overnight, resulting in a net negative of 17 admissions on April 9. On the same day, the hardest-hit state in the nation saw a net increase in hospitalizations of just 290, another sign that the state is at or near the peak of the outbreak.
Every model the state relied on decision-making has proven wrong, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, including the Gates Foundation-funded IHME, Columbia University, and McKinsey.
“The actual curve is much, much lower than any of them projected,” he said, referring to the rise, peak, and fall of hospitalizations and other metrics.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.