Dr. Chris Pernell, a New Jersey doctor who lost her father to Covid-19, told CNN on Thursday that she had called friends the night before and asked them to reverse their travel plans.
“I begged her, please, stay home. Be sure so that you can enjoy your loved ones in the future,” said Pernell.
The recorded cases rise to unprecedented levels. The average number of new daily cases in a week in the US was 175,809 on Wednesday – the highest in history and more than two and a half times higher than the previous high in late July. And Covid-19 deaths in the US are spiking. More than 2,100 deaths were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday. This was the first time since the end of April that this level had been exceeded on consecutive days.
The average number of daily deaths per week – 1,658 on Wednesday – is the highest since mid-May.
The CDC recommended last week that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving. Many have changed their plans, according to a new poll. But millions haven’t. On Wednesday alone, more than 1.07 million people passed the security checkpoints at U.S. airports – most on one day since March 16, when nationwide coronavirus restrictions began, the Transportation Security Administration said on Thursday. More than 5.9 million people have flown through US airports since the CDC’s anti-travel recommendation last week, according to TSA data.
“I don’t mean to be scary, but … today the course of Covid may change for our country for the rest of the year,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, a CNN medical analyst and emergency doctor at Brown University, on Thursday.
“Infections that continue today will occur in three weeks and will result in deaths over Christmas and New Years and spread to every state.”
Expert: Daily deaths could soon double
An expert predicts that daily deaths from Covid-19 will double within a few days.
“If you look at people who are in hospital today, they got infected two weeks ago, maybe longer. So it takes about five to seven days for them to get symptomatic,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University Wednesday.
“It usually takes about another week to be sick enough to be hospitalized. So that’s at least two weeks, and then it usually takes another week for people to succumb to the disease,” Reiner said.
“I expect the daily death rate will double over the next 10 days,” he said. “We’re going to see nearly 4,000 deaths a day.”
“We will see an increase upon an increase”
With the country deep in the fall of Covid-19 spike, local and state leaders made final efforts throughout the week to warn Americans: Don’t go for traditional Thanksgiving celebrations this year, or things could get worse.
Telephone notifications have been sent out in Pennsylvania and parts of Georgia urging residents to stay safe during the vacation. In New Orleans, officials sent residents to celebrate in their own home and hold larger celebrations virtually. In a final speech to Kansans, Governor Laura Kelly said that health compliance “will be more critical than ever in the coming days”. US surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams said the safest Thanksgiving festival this year involves only immediate household members.
Similar warnings have been received from officials in almost every state over the past week. And experts have warned what could happen in the coming weeks if Americans don’t heed the guidelines.
“It is serious news when all of these people travel and then spend a lot of time indoors in warm family relationships with extended families at their destinations,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, on Wednesday evening.
“The virus will attend some of those Thanksgiving dinners and unfortunately it will spread. And then people will come home, some of them will get sick, and it will continue to spread to their families and neighborhoods,” he added.
“In a week, probably two weeks, we’ll see an increase after an increase,” said Schaffner. “We have a hard time.”
CDC study: only 1 in 8 US infections may have been counted
According to a new model study, only about 1 in 8 – or 13% – of all coronavirus infections in the US had been detected and reported by the end of September.
That estimate, made by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would mean that up to 53 million people in the U.S. could be infected from February to September.
During the same period, around 7 million confirmed cases of symptomatic Covid-19 were reported across the country, the researchers said.
As of Thursday, health officials have identified more than 12.8 million According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been a total of Covid-19 cases in the United States so far. “We have estimated that as of September 30, 2020, there were a total of approximately 53 million SARS-CoV-2 infections in the US, including 42 million symptomatic illnesses and 2.4 million hospitalizations, with wide variations by age group and geographic area”, wrote the CDC researchers in the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Fifty-three million would be approximately 16% of the US population of 330.6 million.
To estimate the number of Covid-19 cases that may have been overlooked since the pandemic began, researchers used a model to adjust the number of symptomatic cases reported in the United States. They considered what was known about recognizing cases, asymptomatic cases, patients seeking care or not, and the risk of false negative test results.
Your study had some limitations, including the fact that the availability and use of tests has changed over time, and its results are based on a probabilistic model – so they are only used as estimates.
Researchers have been reporting for months that official case numbers have likely been very low, especially at the start of the pandemic, in part due to limited availability of tests.
Overall, while the number of Covid-19 cases in the study appears to be large, the researchers emphasized that 84% of the US population would not have been infected by the end of September and therefore “most of the country is still at risk “. despite already high hospitalization rates. “
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Pete Muntean, Ben Tinker, Jacqueline Howard, Shelby Lin Erdman and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.