Daily deaths from COVID-19 in the United States have surpassed 2,100 for the first since May as millions of Americans continued to ignore CDC Thanksgiving travel guidance and dire warnings from public health officials that the death toll will surge as cases and hospitalizations spike.
The daily death toll across the country spiked to 2,146 yesterday, which is the highest number of deaths per day since May 8 during the initial peak of the virus.
Health officials have been warning for weeks that deaths, which are a lagging indicator, would increase after the number of cases and hospitalizations started surging in late September.
There were 172,935 new cases recorded yesterday alone and the number of infections has consistently been well above 100,000 every day for the last three weeks.
There is currently a record 88,000 patients being treated in hospitals across the country. The US has repeatedly set daily records for the number of hospitalizations for the past month and 30 of the 50 states have reported a record number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in November alone.
Despite the devastating figures and the fact that hospitals are already overwhelmed in parts of the country, the death toll is only expected to surge with millions defying official warnings and traveling for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.
Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the US is already in the middle of a spike and that the true effect of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings won’t be seen for another three weeks when infections and hospitalizations could surge even higher.
The daily death toll across the country spiked to 2,146 yesterday, which is the highest number of deaths per day since May 8 during the initial peak of the virus
There were 172,935 new cases recorded yesterday alone and the number of infections has consistently been well above 100,000 per day for the last three weeks
Nearly a million people have traveled by plane every day since the holiday travel season began last Friday – just one day after the CDC issued strong guidance urging people to avoid travel.
By next Sunday, it is estimated that 6.3 million would have flown in the days before and after Thanksgiving, according to forecasts from the AAA and based on current figures.
Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the US is already in the middle of a spike and that the true effect of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings won’t be seen for another three weeks when infections and hospitalizations could surge even higher
AAA, who forecasts Thanksgiving travel every year, says 48 million Americans will travel by car and 350,000 by train between today and Sunday – just a 10 percent overall decline from last year.
The disregard for the CDC’s guidance comes as the death toll neared 260,000 and infections nationwide topped 12.6 million.
The US currently leads the world with the highest number of deaths and cases and Dr Tatiana Prowell of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said all of the Thanksgiving travel will ensure that ‘no one will catch us either’.
‘The US ‘each person for himself’ mindset is killing hundreds of thousands of us. Devastating to watch,’ Prowell said.
Fauci issued a final plea before the holidays urging people to keep indoor gatherings as small as possible and to increase mask wearing and social distancing.
He noted that there is already a spike happening and the US doesn’t want another Thanksgiving driven surge, which won’t be seen fully for at least another three weeks.
‘The final message is to do what we’ve been saying for some time… keep the indoor gatherings as small as you possibly can,’ he told ABC’s Good Morning America. ‘By making that sacrifice you’re going to prevent people from getting infected.
‘The sacrifice now could save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this…we’re going to get through this. Vaccines are right on the horizon. If we can just hang in there a bit longer and continue to do the simple mitigation – masks, distancing, avoiding crowds. That’s my final plea before the holiday.’
Nearly a million people have traveled by plane every day since the holiday travel season began last Friday – just one day after the CDC issued strong guidance urging people to avoid travel. Pictured above is Flight Tracker as of Wednesday morning
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Millions of Americans have continued to ignore CDC guidance and dire warnings from public health officials to avoid Thanksgiving travel. Pictured above is the crowd waiting to check in for flights at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport yesterday
DENVER, COLORADO: Despite the devastating figures and the fact that hospitals are already overwhelmed in parts of the country, the death toll is only expected to surge with millions defying official warnings and traveling for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday. Travelers collect their luggage at Denver airport yesterday
ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Holiday travelers check in at kiosks near an airline counter at Orlando International Airport yesterday
NEW YORK CITY: Passengers get ready to board trains at New York’s Penn Station yesterday
Fauci warned yesterday that the US could surpass a ‘stunning’ 300,000 deaths by the end of the year if the current trajectory continues.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has also forecast 334,000 deaths by the end of the year if current behaviors remain in place. The IHME model is forecasting that there will be 2,500 daily deaths by December 31 but, if people wear masks, it will remain around 1,500 per day.
Fauci is among the health officials and politicians that have pleaded with Americans to stay home and abide by the current constraints placed on social and economic life.
With caseloads soaring, more than half the nation’s governors imposed or reimposed statewide measures this month. But despite more stringent face-mask requirements, curfews and limits on bars and restaurants, the metrics of the virus have only worsened.
‘We are on fire with COVID,’ Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on CNN, defending unpopular restrictions he ordered last week that included new limits on retail activity and school closures.
‘We’re just trying to do the right thing.’
States in the Midwest continue to be among the hardest hit in the country based on cases and deaths per 100,000 people.
North Dakota is still the worst affected with 158 cases per 100,000 people in the last week. Wyoming follows with 154 cases, New Mexico with 127 cases, South Dakota with 122 and Minnesota with 115 cases per capita.
The worst affected states for deaths per capita are South Dakota with 2.8 deaths per 100,000 residents in the last seven days. North Dakota follows with 2.1 deaths and Wyoming with 1.4 fatalities.
There is currently a record 88,000 patients being treated in hospitals across the country. The US has repeatedly set daily records for the number of hospitalizations for the past month and 30 of the 50 states have reported a record number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in November
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged the public to grasp ‘the severity of the moment’ and remain diligent in wearing face coverings, avoiding crowds and washing hands until newly developed therapeutic treatments and vaccines can be made widely available in the months ahead.
‘We just need you, the American people, to hold on a little bit longer,’ Adams told Fox News.
On the vaccine front, officials from the US government’s Operation Warp Speed program said they plan to release 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses nationwide in an initial distribution after the first one is cleared by regulators for emergency use, which could happen as soon as December 10.
They said that if all goes well 40 million doses will be distributed by the end of the year.
A Food and Drug Administration ruling on emergency use for Pfizer Inc’s vaccine is expected on December 10.
Fauci has warned, however, that it was unrealistic to think that things will completely be back to normal Easter and Passover holidays next spring given the amount of time it will take to have the majority of Americans vaccinated.
‘If you’re going to have the start of the rollout of the vaccine in mid to late December for those at the high priority groups, by the time you get the high priority individuals done, you’re going to be well into the first quarter of 2021,’ Fauci told Yahoo News.
‘We hope that by the end of the first quarter, end of April into May and June, that we will get a substantial proportion of the people vaccinated… getting back to normal is also going to depend on what proportion of the population actually gets the vaccine.
‘So if you have a highly efficacious vaccine, which we do have, however, let’s say 50 percent of the people want it, and 50 percent don’t, you’re going to stretch out the length of time that it’s going to take to get back to normal.’
He said at least 70 percent of the population needed to receive the vaccine to get the ‘umbrella of immunity’ needed for things to get back to normal.