The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a graph that appears to show that the number of new cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, peaked on March 20. However, public health officials are predicting that the worst is yet to come.
The graph, visible on the CDC's daily update page, shows the progression of the illness based on the date of the patient's diagnosis. As can be seen below, March 20 appears to be the day on which the highest number of COVID-19 patients tested positive — so far.
The chart shows that a few patients began testing positive in late February, followed by a steady climb in the beginning weeks of March. On March 20, the illness appears to have peaked, followed by a fairly steady decrease. By the first week of April, the number of new cases based on the date of the patient first showing symptoms, as estimated by the CDC, appears to have fallen to late February numbers.
Though it appears to show an encouraging trend, the public health agency notes that illnesses that began on March 26 or later may not yet have been reported.
Further, the chart demonstrates that there have been peaks and valleys in the disease's progression. For example, on March 25, there was a low number of cases reported on that day (5,320 new cases), but it was followed by a spike the following day (8,321 new cases).
President Donald Trump and the coronavirus task force team has warned that this week and the week following will produce significantly higher numbers in terms of positive cases and overall deaths in the United States.
As NBC News reports, on Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned that the week of April 5-11 would likely be this generation's "Pearl Harbor moment."
"It's going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives," Adams said.
It's a sentiment backed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist.
"Things are going to get bad, and we need to be prepared for that," he said.
Last week, the Trump administration predicted that as many as 240,000 Americans would die from the coronavirus pandemic, as Politico reports. However, on Monday, Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, predicted a slightly less grim picture.
Saying that social distancing and other efforts at slowing the spread of the pandemic appear to be working, Redfield didn't give a specific number but said that new modeling seems to forecast a considerably lower death toll from the pandemic in the United States that previously predicted.