WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The United States is approaching an average of 50,000 new cases of coronavirus each day, a sign the country has not seen since mid-August.
The number of COVID-19 cases has been steadily increasing since September 12. As of Monday, the average duration of the 7-day increase was 15%, as more than 40 states were labeled as having a high or increasing number of infections, according to the New York Times.
This happens when record high daily cases affect several European countries. Spain has declared a state of emergency for Madrid amid growing tensions between local and national authorities over measures to curb the virus. Germany has offered troops to help track contacts in emerging hotspots. Italy has allowed outdoor masks and warned that for the first time since the country became the European epicenter of the pandemic, the healthcare system faces “significant critical problems”
So, is this the case with the “second wave” or the coronavirus that everyone has been talking about? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s best infectious disease expert, says no.
“Given the fact that we’ve never reached a good baseline, we’re still in the first wave,” Fauzi told CNN a few weeks ago.
During the 1918 pandemic, the number of cases dropped sharply before erupting in the colder months later in the year.
Instead of saying “Second Wave”, why not say “Are we ready for the challenge of autumn and winter?” Said Fauci.
Since the height of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, experts have warned of a second jump that is likely to hit the United States before the end of 2020. Most experts say it could arrive in late October and peak in December.
A large-source model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Indicators and Estimates predicts a daily death toll of about 940 on election day – which would be drastically higher than the 700 we see today.
Entering in early December, the model shows that deaths climb to 1,500 each day before reaching a peak of about 2,300 at the end of January.
The model predicts that the United States will have 323,000 deaths by the end of 2020. It includes a best-case scenario of 277,000 deaths and a worst-case scenario of 351,000.
“My feeling is that a wave is coming and it’s not so much if it’s coming, but how big it will be,” Eiley Klein, an epidemiologist at Hopkins Medical School, told the Washington Post in September.
Respiratory viruses tend to spread more easily in cooler weather with less humidity. Experts say these conditions allow viruses to remain viable for longer periods of time.
In addition, people tend to stay indoors during the colder months.
To date, infectious spikes usually follow the relaxation of restrictions or stop orders. With many countries doing so and children returning to school, we are already seeing an increase in cases in more than 30 countries. In fact, the New York Times reports a 15% increase in coronavirus cases nationwide over the past 14 days.
While deaths fell by 5% over the same period, experts warn that jumps in deaths usually lag far behind infection levels due to the virus’s extended incubation period.
“I expect the falling waves to start in mid-October and get worse with the fall in the winter and reach a crescendo for sure after the election,” said Andrew Neumer, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine, in an interview with the Washington Post. “Some places will peak around Thanksgiving, some places will peak around Christmas, some places will reach January and February.
The best way to avoid death from coronavirus remains to avoid getting it, and experience has shown that the simple measures recommended by public health officials work.
“Prevention is the most important step right now as we wait for a vaccine and improve treatment,” said Dr. Jesse Goodman, a former chief scientist with the US Food and Drug Administration and now at Georgetown University.
Wearing a face mask, washing hands, maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet and disinfecting surfaces have shown a positive effect on limiting the spread.
If more people stick to common sense like closing bars, “we need to improve our ability to manage this” and prevent more deaths, said Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, a former scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. now to the non-governmental group Resolve for saving lives. “It will take longer to get to the next million if it ever happens.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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