As more states undertake stricter lockdowns amid another wave of coronavirus outbreaks, Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, noted that “this will get worse” before the pandemic finally abates. National data is reporting about a 77 percent change in new cases over the past 14 weeks, with hospitalizations and death rising as well. It is what experts have repeatedly warned in the past weeks, as Covid-19 conditions continue to deteriorate across the country: things will get worse before they get better. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States has jumped nearly 50% in the last 14 days, straining the nation’s healthcare system and forcing cities and states to impose new restrictions to curb the alarming viral spread.
There were 79,410 hospitalizations reported on Wednesday, the most at any time during the pandemic. a record high for the United States, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country is now averaging 72,120 hospitalizations over the last 7 days — a 19.76% increase compared to last week. As hospitalizations climb, the nation’s health care systems have been strained, prompting some of its workers to plead with Americans to do what they can to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. “As a health care provider we are on 250 days of having a Covid patient in our ICU right now,” said Dr. Nathan Hatton, a pulmonary specialist at the University of Utah Hospital. “So every day, you walk into work, someone is super sick, someone is potentially dying that day.”
On Nov. 18, at least 1,923 new COVID-19 deaths along with 172,391 new cases were reported. More than 250,000 Americans have so far died of the virus — a higher death toll than any other country — and a forecast by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that number could rise up to 298,000 by December 12. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine, said the current daily death count “reflects the number of people who were being infected three weeks ago — two to three weeks ago because that’s the lag” between infections and deaths.
Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other public health agencies, are advising against large scale gatherings and instead emphasize smaller Thanksgiving dinners with social distancing implemented. In the meantime, public spaces like restaurants, bars, schools, and gyms have been closed down in a bid to reduce virus transmission in crowded spaces. Health and government officials have warned that the dramatic rise in hospitalizations over the last few weeks may get worse and urged Americans to limit their Thanksgiving holiday celebrations to small, single household gatherings.
“As you’ve heard so many times before, we know how to fix this,” Giroir added. “It’s all about absolute adherence to wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and yes, we can keep the economy open but we’re going to have to diminish indoor places like indoor dining and restaurants.” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told CNN he wanted people to stay with their immediate family on Thanksgiving and to keep gatherings small — “not just for next Thursday … but for the next couple of months.”
The growing tide of infections and public health-recommended shutdowns portends a bleak winter for the American economy.
Source: CNN & Thompson Reuters