“This is a humanitarian catastrophe – probably one of the worst stories I have covered in my career here at CNN,” the network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, said Thursday.
He said that MSF workers are trying to help the United States control the epidemic. More than 241,000 people have died from the Coronavirus across the country – a number that is growing rapidly every day.
“I mean, this is an organization that usually covers real disasters and medical crises around the world,” Gupta said.
“And when they kind of look at the map now and say, ‘Where do we need to be? “They pointed to the US. They were in nursing homes in Detroit. They went to Missouri. They are in these different places trying to provide their services. And yet, the numbers are what they are.”
The numbers are simply amazing. On Wednesday, the United States recorded 1,893 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. This number would reflect a new high, although it might be marred by a huge Georgia population that could include the backlog of deaths.
New reports show the epidemic is only escalating as the country approaches a critical holiday season.
Reports warn of “the most widespread spread to date”
Separate forecasts from the Children’s Hospital Policy Lab projects in Philadelphia will worsen in the West Coast, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states over the next several weeks.
The lab said that hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ventilator use are on the rise in every state.
“In every Midwest state, Covid-19 patients occupy more than 25% of intensive care beds,” it reported.
The findings echo warnings from several top health officials who have urged Americans to follow safety measures such as face masks and social distancing to help limit the spread of the virus and avoid the devastating winter.
A critical holiday ahead
But experts worry that their warnings may go unheeded as some Americans prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday – large family gatherings and friends could help boost the numbers of infected people.
“For those who do, outdoor events are safer than indoors, and conscientious distancing between vulnerable individuals who are older than the rest of the family will be important,” she said. “But the most important thing is to adhere to quarantine before visiting the family.”
The holidays also mean that many college students will likely return home to spend Thanksgiving with family and may inadvertently bring the virus with them. College campuses in all 50 states have reported cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and institutions across the United States continue to implement new measures amid the resurgence of infections.
The safety measures will not be canceled anytime soon
“While we hope to get more good news about vaccines, it will take time to expand production to get them out to all countries and then get enough vaccines so that life returns to the days before Covid,” said World Health Organization chief scientist Dr. Sumeya Swaminathan during a live Q&A on social media.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that even when a vaccine arrives, people may need booster injections in the future.
“I don’t think it will happen, as they say,” Fauci told the Financial Times reporter Hannah Kuchler.
But the vaccine is likely to prevent the virus from spreading below epidemic and epidemic levels.
“So you have to be careful because as new vulnerable people enter the group, globally, they will be vulnerable to infection,” Fauci said. “And when people with immunity lose their immunity, they may become susceptible to infection.”
Although the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines being developed is promising, it is too early to tell how long the immunity to the virus will last.
Fauci added, “Traditionally, if you look at the common cold corona viruses and the experience that we have, it will not be this type of virus that usually conveys lifelong immunity.”
Betsy Klein, Lauren Mascarenas, and Myrna El Sharif of CNN contributed to this report.