In a single day, most deaths were registered on April 15 – 2,603 people.
The next few weeks are likely to worsen before a possible vaccination would bring some relief. But how much worse the situation will get depends on the mitigation measures applied across the country – as well as what celebrations Americans will choose in the coming days, experts say.
Many seemed to be paying attention to the warnings: new polls released by Axios-Ipsos on Tuesday show that about 61% of Americans have changed their Thanksgiving plan. According to the poll, among the most common changes, it was decided to see only direct members of the household and to hold a smaller family dinner than originally planned. Nearly one in ten Americans say they have no plans to celebrate the holiday at all.
“It’s potentially the mother of all the pervasive events,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a medical professor at George Washington University, said Tuesday night.
“One of the ways we thought the Midwest was viral in the summer was the Sturgis motorcycle gathering in South Dakota, where people were infected and then scattered through the Midwest. Now imagine that this is mass, people leaving all U.S. airports and carrying viruses, ”he said.
And a negative result to the test is not enough, senior officials warned. Deputy Health Secretary Brett Giroir of the Department of Health and Human Resources said Tuesday’s tests could give false positive or false negative results and don’t always indicate if someone is infected at that moment.
“A negative test today doesn’t mean you’ll be negative tomorrow or the next day,” he said. “It certainly doesn’t matter if you take a test before you travel, because if you’re positive, you have to stay home, there are no questions asked. But if you get a negative test, it doesn’t give you free entry.”
Officials predict more strained hospitals, more deaths
As grim as it may seem, local leaders and officials across the country are projecting even tougher forecasts for the coming weeks.
More people in Colorado are now infected with the virus than at any other point in the pandemic, Governor Jared Polis said, stating that the state is “at the height of the infection.”
On its current orbit, Colorado is projected to exceed the current number of deaths in excess of 2,800 and about 6,600 by the end of this year. That’s because hospitals are already recharging and are almost twice the number of newborns the state sees in the spring, Polis said.
There are about 25 intensive care unit beds available for patients in Denver, while only 14 remain in Colorado Springs, he added.
Another bleak projection in California. The state’s chief health official said California was still experiencing a ups and downs on Tuesday, with cases growing faster and expecting deaths to rise and the hospital system to push like never before.
Hospital care has jumped more than 81% in two weeks, California Health and Human Resources Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday, while the number of admissions in the intensive care unit increased by about 57% over the same period.
“I think the death toll will certainly rise … as we go beyond the highest number of cases to date and start to see our hospital systems with Covid, beyond where they were ever harassed, (the idea that the death toll could exceed the place we’ve been to before is also real and real, ”Ghaly said.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the state is well on its way to recognizing a “significant peak,” with hospital care rates rising 128% in the past three weeks.
Additional restrictions to control spread
“Unfortunately, it is quite clear that we will have to experience significant restrictions in the next week or two. I think the indoor meals will be closed, the gyms will be closed,” he said. “I’m not happy about it, no one’s happy about it, but it’s coming.”
In addition, food and beverages are called and served at 10 p.m., after which they do not enter the facilities. The new limits will take effect on November 30th.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego in the Texas community of El Paso on Tuesday announced a partial curfew to address social and recreational activities, but does not apply if residents are engaged in basic or non-essential business activities. The curfew runs from 10pm to 5am and expires on Mondays.
“You can buy, buy, whatever it is, what any basic or non-basic business has to do under the given conditions,” he said. “We’re trying to strike a balance between the health of our community and the economy.”
“But let me emphasize the following,” the judge said. “It is a home shelter. Residents are strongly urged to flee home. If they leave their home to receive a basic or essential service, this order strongly recommends that only one person per family participate in the procurement of goods and services.”
In Louis Belain, Governor John Bel Edwards has announced that the state will return to Stage 2 starting Wednesday, amid “an aggressive third run-up of COVID-19.” Restrictions limit restaurants, gyms, hairdressers, nail salons, cinemas and non-core businesses to 50% capacity.
“It’s time for change,” he added.
Meanwhile in Connecticut, the governor on Tuesday announced he had signed an enforcement order raising the maximum fines for businesses violating Covid-19 rules to $ 10,000. The previous maximum penalty was $ 500.
“While the vast majority of businesses in Connecticut have been incredibly big leaders and fantastic partners on this front, we have seen some businesses that have clearly violated these public health rules,” Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement. “That’s all it takes to cause a proliferation event that leads to a large number of cases and hospitalization.”
States will begin preparing for possible vaccinations
While no vaccine candidate has been given the green light by the FDA, Dr. Lilian Abbo, head of infection prevention and control, said preparations for the reception and distribution of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine have begun at the Jackson Health System in Miami, Florida. system.
“The Jackson Health System is one of five hospitals in the state and the only one in Miami to get the vaccine in the first phase,” Abbo told CNN.
“We start with health care workers and high-risk individuals, front-line providers, following health department and state guidelines,” he said.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he had received news from the White House that the state, along with others, was likely to receive the first dose of the vaccine by mid-December. He said his office did not receive the exact number of vaccinations the state would receive, but said healthcare workers and anyone in direct contact with Covid-19 patients are given priority to receive the vaccine first.
But there is still an important process ahead before a Covid-19 vaccine could potentially go green, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said Tuesday.
“Our scientists will be pouring in the data – and let’s not forget that this is a study of more than 44,000 people – so we look at all the patient data and take great care to scroll through the numbers to make sure we agree with the conclusion on safety and effectiveness.” Hahn told South Carolina Senator Tim Scott in an interview with Instagram.
The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss the data. Hahn said the public will be able to watch the meeting virtually and a summary of the data will be available online.
“This committee will send us feedback and then, after listening to their recommendations, we will move forward,” he said.
“We use this process for every other application that appears, whatever it is,” he added.
CNN’s Naomi Thomas, Lauren Mascarenhas, Artemis Moshtaghian, Evan Simko-Bednarski, Sahar Akbarzai, Cheri Mossburg and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to the report.