As the holiday weekend draws to a close, doctors and public health experts warn that coronavirus cases and hospitalizations will continue to rise before a vaccine is approved for emergency use.
On Sunday, the US recorded 138,903 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It is less than the record 205,557 infections reported on Friday, but more than double the figure from just five weeks ago.
That makes 500,056 new infections since Thanksgiving.
Deaths have slightly leveled off with just 826 recorded on Sunday and 3,419 overall since Thursday.
Hospitalizations continue to hit never-before-seen highs, with 93,238 patients in the hospital with the disease, according to the COVID Tracking Project, marking the third time in four days hospitalizations have surpassed 90,000.
However, officials expect the pandemic only to get worse.
At least seven million Americans passed through US airports over the last week for Thanksgiving, including 1.18 million on Sunday, the highest number since mid-March. Overall, an estimated 50 million traveled, including via cars, railways and buses.
Americans took to the skies, roads and rails despite adamant warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr Anthony Fauci that, even if planes themselves don’t pose an outsized risk of spreading coronavirus, small indoor gatherings and mixing outside our homes now are thought to be fueling transmissions.
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, warned on Monday that any American who traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday should ‘assume that you’re infected’ until getting a negative COVID-19 test result.
Cases continued to soar across the Midwest and Great Plains, but records for new daily infections were set in states in every region of the nation during Thanksgiving week.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told every hospital in the state to start recruiting retired doctors and nurses before they become overwhelmed by the influx of coronavirus patients already being reported in every region of the state – and that does not yet include the uncounted but expected surge in new infections following the holiday.
Overall, an estimated 50 million people traveled over Thanksgiving including 7 million people who flew. On Sunday alone (above), 1.18 million passed through US airports, the highest number since mid-March
Dr Deborah Birx (above), the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, warned that anyone who traveled for Thanksgiving needs to get tested for coronavirus and until they receive a negative result should assume they are infected
The US has recorded more than 500,000 new COVID-19 cases since Thanksgiving, with more than 138,000 alone reported on Sunday
Just 826 deaths were reported on Sunday, the lowest in nearly a week, and 3,419 were recorded since Thursday (above)
Hospitalizations reached a record-high with more than 93,000 reported on Sunday, the third time in four days that the number of patients in hospitals has topped 90,000 (above)
According to the latest data from the Transportation Security Administration, nearly 1.18 million airline passengers were screened on Sunday, the highest number since mid-March but still about 60 percent lower than the comparable day last year.
A total of 4.59 million Americans flew between Wednesday and Sunday, just slightly up from AAA’s estimate of 4.58 million. The organization has yet to release official figures of the total number of people who traveled.
On Sunday, Dr Birx said any Americans who traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday should be tested for COVID-19.
‘So if you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later. But you need to assume that you’re infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask,’ she said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
‘And if you’re over 65 or you have co-morbidities and you gathered at Thanksgiving – if you develop any symptoms, you need to be tested immediately.’
Birx added that she and other members of the task force are concerned that post-Thanksgiving surges will resemble the spikes in cases seen after Memorial Day weekend.
‘We’re entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four and 10 times as much disease across the country [as we did on Memorial Day weekend,’ she said.
‘We saw what happened post Memorial Day. Now we are deeply worried about what could happen post-Thanksgiving because the number of cases, 25,000 versus 180,000 a day, that’s where- that’s why we are deeply concerned.’
At the same time, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the public will have to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with small gatherings.
‘If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up,’ he told USA Today.
‘I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving.’
In addition, former FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said that, with the soaring number cases, one-third of the country may be infected by year’s end.
‘We’re gonna probably have by the end of this year 30 precent of the US population infected,’ he told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday.
‘[If] you combine a lot of infection around the country with vaccinating 20 percent of the population you’re getting to levels where this virus is not going to circulate as readily,’
Minnesota recorded more than 100,000 new infections over two weeks and, in the last week, 320 fatalities – the second-highest weekly total ever
In Ohio, infections have spiked by nearly 20% over the last week and positivity test rates have risen from 12.8% to 15.1%
In Nebraska, 931 COVID-19 patients were being treated in hospitals as of Friday, which is more than double the figure from one month ago
Cases are spiking in states across the country including the Midwest and the Southern Great Plains.
In Minnesota, officials recorded over a two-week period more than 100,000 new infections and more than 700 deaths. Over the last week, 320 fatalities were recorded – the second-highest weekly total ever.
‘We took 29 weeks to get to the first 100,000 cases and six weeks to get to the next 100,000…and just over two weeks to add 100,000 more,’ Dr Kris Ehresmann, the state’s director of infectious diseases, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
‘Our status is quite precarious.’
While in-person dining in restaurants and bars may help reduce the spread of the virus, experts say that gatherings over Thanksgiving could lead to a spike.
‘I think Thanksgiving and then building into the Christmas holiday season could see increased cases,’ Dr Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told the newspaper.
‘On the other hand, if people begin to take this much more seriously – and, as I say, they stop swapping air – then we could see cases level off and start to come down.’
In nearby Ohio, infections have spiked by nearly 20 percent over the last week.
For the week ending on Saturday, 63,417 cases were reported, which is a 19.6 percent increase over the previous week that had 53,043 new cases.
Additionally, the test positivity rate was 15.1 percent in the last week, in comparison with 12.8 percent the prior week, according to an analysis from USA Today.
What’s more, many of the rates in Ohio’s rural counties are growing at the same pace as, or worse than, urban counties.
‘When you look at the CDC’s classification of high incidence, we are nine-fold that,’ William Hablitzel, health commissioner of Adams County, a rural county that borders Kentucky, told The Columbus Dispatch.
‘When you are 50 to 100 percent greater than some of the larger urban counties where you would anticipate this kind of spread, it’s shifted how people are thinking about this.’
The pandemic is also hitting the Great Plains hard, particularly Kansas and Nebraska.
In Nebraska, 931 COVID-19 patients were being treated in hospitals as of Friday, reported the Omaha World-Herald. That’s more than double the figure from one month ago.
‘What people need to understand is this is going to take a while to percolate through the population,’. ‘So, we’re going to be seeing the spike in cases probably by the middle of December.’
Experts predict that the post-holiday surge in COVD-19 cases and deaths will be the worst yet.
‘I’m very concerned that with the Thanksgiving holiday that we’ll see an even bigger bump,’ Dr Mark Rupp, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Nebraska Medicine, told WOWT-TV.
‘We just have so much more COVID-19 in our community right now compared to previous holidays.’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tells hospitals to start recruiting retired doctors NOW and warns a second lockdown is possible as COVID hospitalizations soar
By Jennifer Smith for DailyMail.com
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday told every hospital in New York to start recruiting retired doctors and nurses now before they become overwhelmed as he revealed that hospitalizations have gone up from 850 in June to 3,552 now – and new infections from Thanksgiving have not yet revealed themselves.
An entire shutdown – what he calls New York Pause – will happen if the hospital system becomes overwhelmed, he said. At the height of the pandemic in New York, there were more than 18,000 people in the hospital.
Currently, the state is applying ‘yellow, red and orange’ zone rules to neighborhoods where there are surges.
A red zone – the most severe – closes schools and non-essential businesses but keeps some open. On Monday, Cuomo said that he’d add ‘PAUSE’ as the most severe set of rules. It’s unclear how it will differ from red zones.
Cuomo said on Monday he wants to act now to avoid that happening again so is telling every hospital to plan now to add 50 percent to its capacity to be able to add more beds in addition to finding more staffing.
He also revealed that 65 percent of all new infections are coming from small gatherings in homes.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told every hospital to plan now to add 50 percent to its capacity to be able to add more beds in addition to finding more staffing
Cuomo told reporters: ‘We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system.
‘You will see serious stress on the hospital system and we are still awaiting the post thanksgiving effect.
‘We don’t know what the effect has been yet. We are seeing the rise all across the state. The first go around it was primarily New York City. We had upstate resources we could share. That is not the case this time- it is statewide.
‘Literally every region is dealing with a hospital issue now.Look at those curves they are all going up at an alarming rate,’ he said.
He is telling every hospital to plan now to add 50 percent to its capacity to be able to add more beds in addition to finding more staffing.
‘Every hospital has to identify retired nurses and doctors now – staff just gets exhausted. They’ve had a horrendous year..to now go through this again..’ he said.
He added: ‘We lived this nightmare, we learned from this nightmare and we’re going to correct for the lessons we learned in this nightmare.’