John Berman had on Dr. Ali Khan, dean of Nebraska Medical Center's College for Public Health, this morning to talk about the nearly 120,000 americans spending Christmas Eve in the hospital, and the 3,359 Americans reported dead from coronavirus overnight.
"That hospitalization figure, as it hits new records every day, almost now at 120,000, why is it still going up? How is it that it continues to go up? New cases, there is some sign that it's leveling off a bit, but the fact that we keep filling up our hospitals at new unprecedented levels, it just keeps happening," Berman said.
"Good morning, John. And yeah, it's very disturbing. And I'll contrast your numbers with the fact that about 1.7 billion people are going to wake up on Christmas morning with near zero cases in Australia, New Zealand, China, Thailand, et cetera, et cetera," Dr. Khan said.
"It's actually quite disturbing. The new cases are predictable. Maybe about 20% of Americans have currently been infected, which leaves about 80% of Americans left to be infected. So it's not surprising, given how many people are susceptible to infection and the lack of appropriate public health measures to protect them and prevent the deaths.
"I have two thoughts about the traveling. The first is actually to those who did travel for whatever reason and they didn't quarantine themselves seven days beforehand and didn't take my advice about never go to high-risk areas, if you did travel, please, don't compound your risk now by going out to bars and restaurants or houses of worship. Remember that people can be infected and still look fine, so you may even want to consider wearing a mask within the house. And limit your gatherings, please, if you did travel. Second thought about this great advice from public health officials to not travel. Guidance is not public health policy, so where's the policy about intrastate travel, ensuring that there's quarantine and testing before that happens? Why have we no longer heard about test, trace, and isolate, which is the primary strategy? Why is there no national tracing app? Why is there no national stipend?
"I mean, there's all sorts of policy things that we can do that can still get these cases down. And mask mandate is a good example. More people would be saved -- more lives would be saved in January if every state did a mask mandate than would be saved by a vaccine in January."
We all know what. An incompetent and malevolent creature in the White House decided to politicize a virus, it spun out of control, and he doubled down. Period.