The U.S. could see 2,000 Americans dying per day by Christmas if strict new mitigation strategies aren’t adopted, according to warnings from doctors on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and a new report from CBS News. The alarming news comes as the U.S. reports 1,565 deaths from covid-19 on Tuesday alone, with hospitals across the country becoming overwhelmed by the large volume of patients.
Doctors on the White House task force recommend that all bars across the country be closed and that all restaurants stop providing indoor dining. CBS reports the unnamed doctors told Vice President Mike Pence that this could help slow the spread, though it’s not clear how well that message was received from the nation’s leaders. The White House has been criminally negligent during the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected over 11.3 million Americans and killed over 248,707, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The doctors also told Pence that it would be helpful if he and President Donald Trump stressed “the importance of taking mitigation measures” through an address to the public in the White House press briefing room. That seems like an unlikely course of action, given the fact that President Trump hasn’t taken questions from the press since the November 3 presidential election and appears to spend most of his days tweeting about the election being “rigged.” Trump has still refused to concede the election, which he lost to Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
While many states are starting to introduce new measures, there are still at least 30 states where bars are open and indoor dining is allowed, according to the New York Times. At least ten states still have no requirement for residents to wear masks, including South Dakota, one of the worst hit states in the country. South Dakota has seen an average of 1,421 new cases every day for the past week. The state of just 880,000 people has recorded 644 deaths and more than 67,000 cases since the pandemic began earlier this year.
At least 76,830 Americans are currently hospitalized with covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a record that keeps getting broken with each passing day. At least 20 states set new records on Tuesday for hospitalizations, including hard-hit states in the Upper Midwest like Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
And hospitals are reaching a breaking point. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that over 900 staff at the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota have contracted covid-19 in the past two weeks. Hospitals from Texas to Michigan are operating near capacity, with no staff available to operate many of the ICU beds needed for patients who get seriously ill.
Numerous reports from the past week have also noted that health care workers are simply exhausted and don’t know how they’ll make it through the next couple of months both physically and emotionally. Some people are worried about the PTSD that will likely become evident after all of this is over, but doctors and nurses don’t even have time to worry about the longer term health effects. They’re simply living in the moment, working long shifts to keep their patients alive.
Incredibly, some people are still in denial about the deadliness of this pandemic, even when they’re literally on their deathbeds. And that travesty can be laid directly at the feet of the president. Trump spent months minimizing the threat of the pandemic, insisting that it would miraculously “go away.”
Covid-19 didn’t go away. And while we’re tremendously hopeful that new vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna will reach people as soon as possible, there’s still going to be a lot of pain and death this winter before the pandemic is under control.
Don’t go visit family for Thanksgiving next week, even if your loved ones are disappointed in you. As coronavirus expert Dr. Michael Osterholm says, we need to look at 2020 as our “covid year” and promise our families that we’ll see them in 2021. That is, if you want to see them in 2021.
As public health experts in Mississippi recently warned, if you plan on having big Thanksgiving dinners this year, also plan on having small Christmas funerals.