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COVID-19 toll soars past early estimates

Remember just a few months ago when some disease analysts who had been predicting COVID-19 would kill 200,000 Americans were being ridiculed by some people? For a time, it appeared the pandemic would claim fewer than 100,000 lives in our country.

But on Sunday, the tally had topped 194,000. It appears early predictions of 200,000 coronavirus deaths may have been wildly optimistic.

Still, we may be making some progress. Daily deaths have been declining in some places. Ironically, that may be only because so many people died in cities such as New York during the virus’ first wave, and the herd immunity you have heard so much about has kicked in there.

It has not in most of the country. Now, epidemiologists are warning we may be in for trouble this fall and winter.

Colder temperatures seem attractive to some viruses. We know that from those that cause annual influenza epidemics. Part of the reason for that is that more people tend to gather indoors during the fall and winter, spreading all sorts of germs.

COVID-19 has disappointed some scientists who had hoped it would not tolerate hot weather well. Obviously, the coronavirus is at home in all climes.

But it may gain a new lease on death this fall and winter — especially as it becomes obvious so many Americans are ignoring common-sense precautions to safeguard themselves and others against the disease. We don’t have to tell you — again — what those safeguards are.

Understand this, however: COVID-19 already has become a grim reaper in our country. Unless we all begin fighting back soon, the death toll is likely to soar within a few months.

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