“And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
(Donald Trump, Feb 26, 2020)
Looking at charts for the number of total COVID-19 cases in the US and in Italy, it looks like in the 11 days from March 1 to March 12, case numbers increased by an average of 33% per day in the US (75 to 1697).
A week earlier (February 22) Italy already had a similar number of cases and numbers have also been growing exponentially (79 to 1701 in 8 days, an average daily increase of 48%). The infection growth rate seems to have slowed to around 24% after quarantine in parts of Northern Italy and then a countrywide lock down on March 9 (1701 to 15113 cases in 11 days). Nevertheless, in some of the worst affected areas in Italy the health care system is already stressed to the breaking point.
Assuming the US case numbers keep increasing at 33% a day, it would exceed a million cases around April 4. At 24% it will happen a week later, on April 11. But regardless of the timing, if 5% of a million infected Americans were to need intensive care, that’s more than there are ICU beds in the entire US (and most of those are already in use, of course).
This is a very worrying picture. Obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are known risk factors for severe outcomes of COVID-19 and these are highly common in the US. 45% of the US population over 45 are either obese or severely obese (both men and women). On top of that, some 25 million people in the US are not covered by any health insurance.