- While coronavirus cases in the United States, deaths, and hospitalizations set new records almost daily, experts nervously monitor Americans’ behavior during Thanksgiving.
- Public health experts have urged people not to travel this year, and the CDC recommends that households not mix at Thanksgiving gatherings.
- But a record number of passengers flew across the country before the holiday, and one in three Insider respondents said they were not giving up on their traditional dinner plans.
- However, without proper precautions, the United States could be hit by a double jump and a “humanitarian crisis,”
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
Thanksgiving can’t be better designed as a coronavirus overdistribution event.
COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations are already on the rise in the United States, approaching a new peak. Thanksgiving is likely to accelerate this blow by allowing the virus to enter millions of tightly packed and poorly ventilated homes.
As of Thursday, at least 12.8 million Americans had tested positive for coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. The COVID tracking project said that as of Wednesday, nearly 90,000 people in the United States had been hospitalized with COVID-19, with hospitalizations breaking national records daily for the past 16 days.
More than 262,400 Americans died from COVID-19, and more than 2,300 died on Wednesday alone. This week, for the first time, the United States has surpassed 2,000 deaths a day since early May, according to The New York Times.
More than 10 months have passed since the discovery of the first case of coronavirus in the United States, but these dark stages are becoming more common.
Yet President Donald Trump, who tested positive in October, has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, insisting that the country is “rounding off” and that COVID-19 will simply disappear. The White House is even planning holiday parties indoors at Christmas and Hanukkah, Axios officials said.
The possibility of “moving the disease” to the United States
Health experts have called on Americans to rethink Thanksgiving and the holiday season in 2020 and to avoid situations in which they may contract or transmit the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked people to avoid mixing households and to hold small, short and masked gatherings, which are outdoors if possible.
Travel is a major concern, as the CDC categorizes medium-sized events with people traveling outside the area as “more risky.”
“Currently, because we are seeing exponential growth in cases and the possibility of moving diseases or infections from one part of the country to another, our recommendation is to avoid traveling at this time,” said Dr. Henry Walk, COVID-19 Manager. of incidents at the CDC, told reporters on November 19th.
One in three Americans does not change their plans
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s best infectious disease expert, made a “last request before the holiday” as he spoke to ABC News presenter George Stefanopoulos on Wednesday.
“We all know how difficult this is because it’s such a beautiful, traditional holiday. But making that sacrifice will prevent infecting people,” said Fauci, whose own daughters refused to travel home for Thanksgiving in an attempt to protect 79 -year-old father.
He added: “If we can just stay a little longer and keep doing the simplistic softening things we talk about all the time – masks, distancing, avoiding crowds, especially indoors. If we do these things, we will go through it. . “
Yet not everyone has heeded this advice. An Insider survey of 1,110 people in the United States found that nearly one in three respondents – or 37% – did not do things differently this year. And 57% of respondents say they plan to gather different households around their dining tables, in the absence of masks and open windows.
Airports are also seeing an increase in passengers. The Transport Security Administration said it checked more than 1 million passengers last Friday and then again on Sunday and Wednesday. These are the biggest days for air travel since March 16, according to the agency’s diaries.
Daily deaths from COVID-19 could double in the next 10 days
The CDC, meanwhile, released a forecast Wednesday predicting an increase in coronavirus deaths over the next four weeks, with between 10,600 and 21,400 new deaths likely to be reported in the week of December 19th.
“The National Ensemble estimates that a total of 294,000 to 321,000 deaths from COVID-19 will be reported by that date,” the CDC said.
Dr. Jonathan Rainer, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, predicted to CNN that daily deaths would not only jump, but would double over the next 10 days. There is about a two-week delay between people who become infected and hospitalized, with symptoms appearing about five to seven days.
“We will monitor nearly 4,000 deaths a day,” he said on Thursday.
And as it gets colder and people move indoors, experts are concerned about a “humanitarian crisis,” Dr. John Braunstein of Boston Children’s Hospital told ABC News.
“If we enjoy travel and big gatherings indoors, which we know are the engines of the transmission, we expect to see a huge tide on top of the already terrible situation,” he said.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, echoed that feeling.
“I’m worried that Thanksgiving will just add to what turns into Christmas, which will make this one look like it’s not that bad,” he told CNN, adding, “We need to understand that.” in a very dangerous place. People need to stop exchanging air. It’s just that simple. “
Medical resources across the country are already depleted, with nurses and doctors working around the clock and at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus itself.
Dr Joseph Varon, chief of staff at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, told CNN that the pandemic had forced him to work 251 days in a row. His hospital has maximum capacity and is struggling to open two new wings in preparation for the influx of patients after Thanksgiving.
Varon described the treatment of people in the pandemic as an “endless story” and warned of a rapidly deteriorating situation across the country without proper precautions.
“My concern for the next six to 12 weeks is that if we don’t do things right, America will see the darkest days in modern American medical history,” he said.
Jim Edwards contributed to this report.