The foremost infectious disease expert in the United States expects an increase after Thanksgiving.
Leading U.S. Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, has warned residents should be prepared for a surge in infections after Thanksgiving.
Fauci said on Sunday, shortly after the US holiday, which saw the highest travel rate in the US since the first major outbreak, “There will almost certainly be an increase due to the events that happened with the trips.”
On CNN, he added, “There may be a surge in two or three weeks”. “We don’t want to scare people, but that’s the reality.”
The United States saw a renewed surge in infections and hospital stays in the cold months. On Friday, new daily cases exceeded 200,000 for the first time during the outbreak. To date, more than 13.2 million COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in the US, with at least 266,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, Admiral Brett Giroir, who oversees US coronavirus testing, told CNN that “hospital admissions in the US are currently peaking at around 95,000”.
“About 20 percent of all people in the hospital have COVID, so this is a really dangerous time,” he said.
The health officials’ comments came as US news media reported that the first shipments of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine – one of the first to claim high efficacy along with a Moderna product – came to the US from a Belgian Pfizer laboratory were.
The company is using charter flights to prepare vaccines for rapid distribution once it receives U.S. approval, which is expected as early as Dec. 10, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Giroir said of the positive vaccine outlook, “The light is at the end of the tunnel.”
New York schools reopened
The recent surge in cases and hospitalizations has resulted in a number of new restrictions in the United States.
However, on Sunday the Mayor of New York City abruptly changed policy and announced that public elementary schools would reopen.
New York’s school system, the largest in the country, was one of the first to reopen in September after an initial lockdown. On November 18, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered schools to be closed as cases rose again, leading to criticism as the number of cases in the school system remained extremely low.
De Blasio said the city would ditch its three percent testing threshold – the standard it used to justify closing schools.
De Blasio, who has been criticized for closing schools while restaurants and bars remain open, said middle and high schools would remain closed.