Confirmed coronavirus cases across the U.S. topped the 8 million mark on Friday as the pandemic began to overlap during the flu season, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 218,000 people are currently known to have died of the virus.
Public health experts have long been concerned about the ability of the United States health care system to handle coronavirus and influenza cases simultaneously. If hospitals are overwhelmed, it will be difficult for people to get the care they need.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, painted a sad picture in July of the coming fall and winter months, saying it would “probably be the hardest time we̵7;ve ever had in health. of the American public. “
“I’m worried,” he said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Warmer weather allows people in regions severely affected by the pandemic to accumulate safer outdoors, helping to keep COVID-19 cases in the former hotspots of New York and New York. Jersey. But across the rest of the country, the coronavirus began to spread rapidly in the late spring and summer months as lockdown measures were raised in areas where hospital resources were not preliminary.
Some states, such as Texas and Arizona, have managed to prevent new cases by the end of the summer but are now facing a potential resurgence.
Others, such as North Carolina and Illinois, are seeing an alarming increase in new cases.
With the coming flu season and colder weather forcing people to return indoors – not to mention the upcoming holiday season – concerns are growing about an autumn rise. Researchers believe that coronavirus spreads more easily in enclosed spaces where air containing the virus can be re-placed in the absence of good ventilation. Viruses generally travel best in the dry winter air.
Dr. Anthony Fauci – the country’s leading infectious disease expert sidelined by President Donald Trump – warned in early August that the U.S. would need to get new cases of coronavirus to less than 10,000 per day in September.
“If we do not get rid of them, we will have a really bad situation in the fall,” Fauci said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.
That has not happened yet. On Thursday, the number of new daily cases led to 60,000 for the first time since early August.
Wisconsin also opened doors at a field hospital this week outside Milwaukee that could handle more than 500 patients. Deputy Secretary of State for Health Services Julie Willems Van Dijk, said Wisconsin’s overall health system was “in crisis.” Many intensive care units are “strained,” and hospitals across the state are reporting “current and imminent staff shortages,” he said.
A coronavirus vaccine still works. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer – one of the leading rivals in developing a vaccine – said it could know if its design was effective by the end of October. But the company does not plan to apply for an Emergency Use Consent from the government, which will allow it to distribute the drug, until the second half of November.
Regardless of the exact timing, experts say it could take several months to vaccinate a significant portion of the population.
In the meantime, states and municipalities will have to rely on testing capability, which has generally improved since the spring. Various test methods currently adopted, such as integrated tests, can also improve the speed of results.
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