The record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases, and their expanse, have public health officials very, very worried that the worst is yet to come.
Despite Donald Trump’s claim that the coronavirus pandemic is “going away,” the opposite is true. Not only that, this spike in cases looks to be more dangerous than ever before. The Washington Post explains why:
The last time the country hit a new daily record for coronavirus cases — 76,533 on July 17 — just four states accounted for more than 40,000 of those cases: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.
On Thursday, the daily number of cases reached 73,686. But this time, it’s 14 states accounting for that same lion’s share of cases. And 22 states have broken their records for single-day highs of cases in the past two weeks.
“One key way we got through previous waves was by moving health-care workers around. That’s just not possible when the virus is surging everywhere,” said Eleanor J. Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University.
Hospitals across the country are already approaching capacity, The Post reports, and this is before people gather indoors for the holidays during colder, dryer weather that helps the virus stay active longer.
Even worse is the drain on staffing:
“Creating beds is relatively easy, but what do you do when you outstrip ICU nurses, doctors and teams?” said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. ... And as the pandemic has seeped into rural swatches of the Midwest, skeleton staffs at smaller hospitals are shrinking further as doctors and nurses fall ill.
There's already a shortage of drugs:
A report this week by Osterholm’s center showed shortages in 29 of the 40 basic but critical drugs often used for covid-19 patients. That includes antibiotics, sedatives like propofol that are used to calm patients during intubation and heart medication such as norepinephrine. And because of the widespread nature of the infections, hospitals are finding it harder to draw from excess supplies of such drugs elsewhere.
But during Thursday’s debate, Trump insisted there are some “some spikes and surges” that “will soon be gone” thanks to his awesome leadership. “It will go away and as I say, we're rounding the turn, we're rounding the corner, it's going away,” he said.
And did you notice he never wore a mask either before or after the debate?