Coronavirus Could Kill 480,000 Americans, Leaked Documents Reveal

Leaked documents reveal that some American health experts believe a coronavirus pandemic could kill 480,000 Americans.
Posted in: Headlines
March 8, 2020 4:16 PM UTC
  • Covid-19 is spreading uncontrollably in the U.S. Due to limited testing, authorities don’t know how many are already infected.
  • A leaked document reveals that some health authorities believe the virus could eventually infect 96 million Americans and kill almost 500,000.
  • The projections, made by a doctor at the University of Nebraska, use a conservative case fatality rate of 0.54% and a Ro of 2.5.


A leaked presentation obtained by Business Insider reveals that some U.S health experts believe a coronavirus pandemic will overwhelm American healthcare systems and lead to half-a-million deaths. This comes as the outbreak rapidly slips out of control with highly-fatal hot spots springing up in Seattle, New York, and San Francisco.

Due to limited testing, the U.S may already have thousands of unconfirmed cases of the novel disease and uncontrolled community spread.

Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads Around the Globe

The coronavirus is spreading rapidly across North America. | Sorce: John Hopkins

As global infections top 106,000, Wuhan coronavirus is now spreading faster outside of China than inside it. With massive hot spots in Iran, South Korea and Italy, the U.S looks to be the next ground zero of the deadly infection.

Although the U.S outbreak is smaller than others, it is significantly more fatal.

Out of the 444 Americans confirmed to carry the virus, 19 have already died giving the outbreak a confirmed case fatality rate of 4.3% in the U.S compared to 0.70% in South Korea.

America’s high fatality rate suggests authorities may be under-testing for the virus. And the disease could be more widespread than currently reported.

Coronavirus Could Kill 480,000 Americans, Leaked Presentation Reveals

Business Insider has obtained a leaked presentation that offers shocking new details about the potential severity of a coronavirus outbreak on American soil.

The document, which was part of a webinar hosted by the American Hospital Association, featured work from Dr. James Lawler, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

These are his best estimates for how much the coronavirus will spread in the United States:

  • 96 million total cases
  • 4.8 million hospitalizations, and 1.9 ICU admissions
  • 480,000 deaths

Dr. Lawler’s research assumes a doubling time of seven-to-ten days based on a Ro of 2.5. It assumes 5% of cases will require hospitalization and 1-2% will require ICO care. It assumes a case fatality rate of only 0.54% – significantly lower than the WHO’s projection of 3.4%.

How Does Coronavirus Compare With the Flu?

Many have compared the Wuhan coronavirus to influenza, a seasonal pandemic disease that spreads uncontrollably in the United States. However, while the flu has a fatality rate of 0.01%, the coronavirus has a fatality rate of 2.3-3.4% meaning that it will kill significantly more people if it spreads to pandemic levels.

The novel coronavirus is actually more similar to the Spanish flu, the worst pandemic in human history. Spanish flu had a fatality rate of 2.5% but managed to kill at least 50 million people around the world.

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