Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) perform Covid-19 testing at a drive-through test location at the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, California, United States on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The United States reported 187,833 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, another record-breaking daily total, as US health officials urge Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving and states impose stricter restrictions to slow the continued spread of the virus .
“We are alarmed,” said Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a press conference Thursday Agency urged people not to travel about Thanksgiving.
“One of our worries is that people who get together over the holiday season may actually be carrying infections and not even know it,” he said.
The U.S. topped 100,000 new Covid-19 cases for the first time on November 3, election day, and infections have since risen to an all-time high. According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the nation reported a weekly average of 165,029 new cases per day, a record streak that lasted 24 consecutive days.
Unlike other spring and summer peaks that hit the northeast and the sun belt, infectious disease experts have said the recent rise has no clear epicenter. Some state and city officials have warned that there is so much spread that local outbreaks cannot be traced back to a single event or venue.
“I believe this is the most serious public health moment we have seen since 1918 and swine flu,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell during one Healthy Returns: The Way Forward Event on Friday.
“We realize that we have a very dangerous time in the next two weeks to react to. We are already watching our hospitals overflow,” said Osterholm.
In the United States, 80,698 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized on Thursday Covid tracking projectrun by journalists in the Atlantic. Hospitals in at least 25 states are critically short of health care workers to service the influx of coronavirus patients. Some people travel hundreds of miles for an open hospital bed. STAT News reports.
A hand full of states and cities close non-essential businessesLimiting public and private gatherings and imposing curfews to slow the rapid spread. Some Republican leaders in Iowa, North Dakota, and Utah, who long resisted statewide mask requirements, are now ordering residents to wear face-coverings in public.
However, many governors and mayors have made it clear that they do not want to close the economy again, as many did in March and April at the start of the outbreak.
The latest weekly White House coronavirus task force report, received on NBC News, painted a grim picture.
“There is now an aggressive, relentless, growing community across the country that is reaching most of the counties with no sign of improvement but of further deterioration,” it said.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday warned the outbreaks in several countries begin to overwhelm hospital systems, which will ultimately lead to poorer outcomes for critically ill patients, as healthcare workers will be forced to ration their time and attention.
“There is only one way to prevent more people from going to the hospital and that is to prevent more people from being exposed and infected,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, during a press conference.
Coronavirus deaths in the United States are increasing at an alarming rate. The daily death toll in the US hit a weekly average of 1,335 people on Thursday, a number last reported in May, according to Hopkins data. Earlier this week, the CDC has updated its forecast for Covid-19 deaths to show “Newly reported COVID-19 deaths are likely to increase over the next four weeks, with 7,300 to 16,000 new deaths expected to be reported in the week ending December 12, 2020.”
During one White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference Thursday – Vice President Mike Pence’s first public appearance since July – Pence and other officials repeatedly reassured Americans that the US has never been better equipped to tackle the crisis.
While acknowledging the increasing cases and hospital stays, the vice president reiterated the positive vaccine developments in recent weeks, saying the country could have one or more safe and effective vaccines “in a short time”.
These comments come as companies like Pfizer and Moderna report promising preliminary data show their vaccines be more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19. Pfizer, who helped develop his vaccine BioNTech, will apply for an emergency permit from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.
DR. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner under President Donald Trumpsaid MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday that it expects approval to arrive by mid-December. However, vaccine doses will be limited this winter and “for some Americans will affect the heck” of the recent outbreak, but “it really isn’t going to change the contours.”
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is on the task force, also urged Americans on Thursday to take precautionary measures while they wait for them a vaccine.
“Now I’ve used that metaphor that the cavalry is on its way. When you’re in a battle and the cavalry is on its way, don’t stop shooting,” Fauci said. “You keep going until the cavalry gets here and then you might even want to keep fighting.”