The White House Coronavirus Task Force has warned that much of the country is being hit by an “relentless” surge in COVID-19 cases, calling for tough countermeasures, while at least nine states reported a record increase in new infections per day on Thursday.
The hardest hit regions in the West and Midwest include a number of battlefield states that are expected to play a key role in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential campaign between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
“We are on a very difficult path. We are going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a senior task force member and director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said coronavirus cases are on the rise in 47 states, and patients are overwhelming hospitals across the country.
“Unless things change, if they continue the course we are on, there will be a lot of pain in this country in terms of additional cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Fauci said in a CNBC interview on Wednesday evening.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force has warned states in the central and western parts of the country that aggressive action will be required to contain the spread of the virus. This is based on weekly state reports from CNN.
“We continue to see relentless, wide-spread community expansion across the Midwest, Upper Midwest, and West. This requires aggressive moderation to control both silent, asymptomatic and symptomatic spread,” one report said State.
The threatening assessment was made on Thursday by Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of public health at Brown University, confirmed that Reuters said, “It’s very, very bad in the United States right now.”
“We are having some of the largest outbreaks we’ve had in the entire pandemic,” he said, adding that the first waves of infection were more localized last spring. “And nine, ten months after this pandemic, we are still largely unprepared.”
At least nine states – Indiana, Ohio, Maine, Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota, North Carolina, Michigan and Oregon – reported a record increase in COVID-19 cases of one day, according to a Reuters tally on Thursday.
Indiana also reported a record number of hospitalizations increasing across the country, a metric that is independent of how many tests are done.
There were 45,457 COVID-19 patients in US hospitals as of Thursday, the highest number since August 14. In the US, nearly 228,000 people have died from the respiratory virus since the outbreak began – the world‘s highest national number – and 8.6 million US infections have been documented to date.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the creation of community leaders “COVID Defense Teams” to focus on measures to slow the spread.
“The virus is raging across the state and there is nowhere to hide,” DeWine said at a press conference when he urged residents to wear masks more diligently, to distance themselves socially and to wash hands.
Health experts believe the virus is rising due to more private social gatherings, colder temperatures driving people indoors, and Americans losing their vigilance due to fatigue from COVID-19 restrictions.
Russell Vinik, chief medical officer at the University of Utah Health Plans, said the virus spread in his state primarily through small social gatherings.
As cases increased across Utah, Vinik said that urgent specialist medical workers were needed to deal with the surge.
“We have adequate PPE (personal protective equipment). Our big problem is the people, the people who need them,” he said in an interview. “It’s not about hospital beds. It’s about trained, specialized providers who care for these patients.”
As the pandemic threatens to spread into winter and a vaccine is months away, Vinik said hospitals would likely become tighter.
Fauci stated that the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine could be available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January if all goes well.
Brown’s dean of public health said doctors had gotten better at treating COVID-19, which explains why death rates have improved somewhat. “But we are still seeing a lot of hospitals filling up.”
Trump on the campaign trail has repeatedly downplayed the virus, claiming for weeks that the country is “rounding the turnaround” even as new cases and hospital stays increase.
At a rally in Arizona on Thursday, the president again spoke out against stricter measures against the resurgent virus.
Biden and other Democrats in Congress have angered Trump for his handling of the health crisis.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)