New COVID-19 Surge Alarms the Nation: What’s Next with the Pandemic?

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As the winter months approach, COVID-19 cases and hospitalization are on the rise. With more than 160,000 U.S. cases of coronavirus as of Thursday, the pandemic is becoming more and more dire. Deaths are at an average of 1,000 a day. Especially for seniors, who are more at risk for complications and hospitalizations with the virus, there is a real need to stay at home and take the health issue at hand very seriously. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta called the pandemic “a humanitarian disaster,” stating that “it was probably one of the worst stories” that he had covered during his career at CNN.

Another lockdown?

A Biden advisor said another lockdown of four to seven weeks could help curb the pandemic. However, Dr. Fauci believes that we can stifle the pandemic without completely locking down, but rather taking the needed precaution of social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing. 

Many hospitals are reaching capacity, which could lead to rationing care. “We have legitimate reason to be very, very concerned about our health system at a national level,” said Lauren Sauer of Johns Hopkins University, who studies hospital surge capacity. North Dakota and South Dakota are two of the states at highest risk for reaching hospital capacity due to COVID-19. 

The numbers

Just on Wednesday of this week, the U.S. recorded 1,893 deaths. According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at this rate around 110,000 more people could die of COVID-19 in the next two months.

On Thursday, there were more than 67,000 COVID patients hospitalized across the nation. Currently, the surge is not limited to certain areas but is happening in nearly every state. 

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A hopeful look

On the brighter side, some experts say the U.S. is better equipped to handle the virus surge now that health experts know more about the virus. With testing more readily available, the steroid remdesivir approved as a treatment, and a new antibody treatment, doctors are in a better position to treat patients and patients are recovering at higher rates.

With Joe Biden assembling a new coronavirus task force, and a new Pfizer vaccine shown to be 90 percent effective, experts are working hard to ensure that the surge is put under control in the near future.

State and local measures

Many states do not have stringent measures in place, and U.S. citizens have been experiencing “COVID fatigue,” in which they avoid taking protective measures. 

Some states are taking more precautions, however, with Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York imposing a 10 pm closing for bars, restaurants, and gyms and limiting private gatherings to 10 people. Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago imposed similar orders for her city, issuing a “stay-at-home advisory”. Check your state and city’s measures to see what you need to do to curb the pandemic, and stay home as much as you can. 

For up-to-date information on global COVID cases and fatalities, visit the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard

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