CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified at the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Employment, and Retirement Committee hearing on the Covid-19 investigation, which focuses on the September 23, 2020 update of the Washington Federal Response.
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The next few months of the Covid-19 epidemic will be “the most difficult in the nation’s public health history,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said Wednesday.
Redfield said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that about 90% of the country’s hospitals are in “hot and red zones”. He added that 90% of long-term care facilities are located in high-prevalence areas.
“So we’re in a very critical position right now to be able to maintain the resilience of our healthcare system,” Redfield said. “The reality is that December, January and February will be difficult times. In fact, I think they will be the hardest in the public health history of this nation, mainly because of the stress on our health. -Care system.”
Redfield added that deaths caused by Covid-19 are already on the rise. He said the country today has between 1,500 and 2,500 Covid-19 deaths.
“The death concerns are real,” he said. “And I think unfortunately, before we go into February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans [that] they died of this virus. “
However, Redfield noted that the country has the means to reduce the severity of the epidemic. He supported the strategic closure of certain sections of society, such as indoor bars and restaurants. He said he was “disappointed” when New York City briefly closed all of its public schools last month, adding that schools did not appear to be encouraging the spread of the virus.
He also pointed to university and college campuses, where he said epidemics were largely avoided at many universities through the strategic introduction of surveillance tests with infection prevention measures such as wearing masks.
“Previously, I thought the hardest group we had to help with this was mostly college students,” he said. “But what happened over the summer and fall is that many colleges and universities have actually stepped up the development of comprehensive mitigation measures.”
One of the factors that makes the virus so dangerous, Redfield says, is that it largely spreads to people who have no symptoms or spreads before patients develop symptoms. This makes it difficult to control the so-called “silent epidemic” without extensive testing of the population, including people who have no symptoms but who may be exposed to the virus. The CDC is working on guidelines for institutions and workplaces that will help them implement testing strategically, he said.
Another bright point, according to Redfield, is that promising vaccinations are in the pipeline, but mitigation measures will be needed even next year. According to his forecast, the country will not be able to return to hold large gatherings until the fall of 2021.
There are many lessons to be learned from the epidemic, Redfield said, adding that “I refused to understand how little investment had been made in basic public health capabilities.”
He said adequate investments had not been made in public health laboratories processing a number of diagnostic tests across the country and in the digitization of public health records, which had hampered the federal government’s response to the pandemic.
“There is a huge shortage of investment and I hope this epidemic will change,” he said. Redfield estimates the health crisis has cost the U.S. at least $ 8 trillion.
“Probably one of the biggest victims of the pandemic this year has been the impact on the business community, and only the impact on general health care, the education of our children.”