In the coronavirus press briefing Thursday, Ohio Health Director Amy Acton dismissed the Trump Administration’s plan for a county-level approach to identify hotspots throughout the country, and instead asserted that as many as 8,000 new cases per day would be diagnosed as early as May 1.
“We can’t assume anything about what is happening in any given community because we really can’t test for it,” she said. “So I think it is really important and that’s why you see states and localities making the decisions they have to make based on what we’re actually seeing on the ground, in our hospitals and what are clinicians are telling us.”
“We will be following our amazing governor’s guidance on how we weather this storm together,” Acton added.
The ODH director said it was hard to draw any conclusions about Ohio’s coronavirus situation because the state was one of the last states to receive working test kits.
“We really need have to follow the sound public health advice. Believe me we will lift it, the second we can in the most responsible way we can,” she said. “But right now, it’s unequivocal what we need to do: we need to stay home.”
Early in her presentation, Acton unveiled a new chart called the “Preliminary Modeling from OSU’s Infectious Diseases Institute: 3/25.” This chart showed how Ohio’s aggressive measures against the coronavirus have helped prevent excessive spread of the Chinese virus.
Dr. Acton referred to a trend line labeled “Unmitigated Projection” that she said Ohio would have experienced. The projections illustrated an upward spike in coronavirus cases of up to 40,000 daily infections in the first two weeks of March, if Ohio had not taken any action to shut down the state with a “Safer at Home” order.
However, she continued, since action occurred, the number of new daily infections has been between 5,000 and 10,000 – as illustrated by the blue trend line.
Acton followed the remarkable assertion with a warning that said Ohio could potentially see between 6,000 and 8,000 new cases a day in the future. The ODH director says this surge could happen around May 1.
“It’s going to happen. Forty to 70 percent of [Ohioans] are going to get this virus over the course of this year. We will get sick, we will mostly stay at home, and then come back.,” she said.
Earlier in March when the coronavirus first came to the Buckeye State, Acton said Ohio was operating as if 100,000 people had the virus due to community spread. Yet, when pressed on this number, she said the 100,000 number was based off a “guesstimate.”
“Just the fact of community spread says at least one percent, at the very least one percent of our population, is carrying this virus in Ohio today. We have 11.7 million people, so the math is over 100,000,” Acton said at the time.
White House task force coordinator on coronavirus Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned against overestimating the possible impact of the pandemic when he said Wednesday that projections showing many tens of thousands of Americans stricken with a deadly case of the illness “do not take into account adjustments made to stop the spread of the virus.”
Based off current ODH numbers, Ohio saw its number of confirmed cases go up 163 cases to 874.
As of Thursday, Ohio has 15 deaths and 223 hospitalizations.
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