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Covid US: Fauci says Christmas a bigger challenge than Thanksgiving

Dr Anthony Fauci has warned Christmas could be more of a challenge than Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations surge across the country. 

The United States recorded 175,663 new coronavirus cases and 1,113 deaths yesterday, while the number of people currently hospitalized reached a record 101,487. 

The number of new cases has surpassed 200,000 every day in the last week and daily deaths haven’t dropped below 2,200. More than 1 million cases have been reported in the first week of December alone.  

There is often a lag in weekend reporting, which could account for the current lower daily figures. 

Averaged across the last seven days, hospitalizations, cases and deaths are currently at record levels. 

In an interview with CNN this morning, Fauci said the numbers being seen now could be just the beginning of what occurred over Thanksgiving due to gatherings and travel.

Fauci warned the Christmas period could be even worse given it goes for a longer period thanks the Thanksgiving weekend.

The United States recorded 175,663 new coronavirus cases yesterday. The number of new cases has surpassed 200,000 every day in the last week

The United States recorded 1,113 deaths yesterday. Daily deaths haven’t dropped below 2,200 in the last week. There is often a lag in weekend reporting, which could account for the current lower daily figures

‘I think it could be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving,’ he said. ‘This may be even more compounded because it’s a longer holiday.’ 

While the true toll of Thanksgiving is yet to be seen, Fauci said it’s likely the country will see a ‘surge upon a surge’.

In an interview with CNN this morning, Fauci said the numbers being seen now could be just the beginning of what occurred over Thanksgiving due to gatherings and travel. Fauci warned the Christmas period could be even worse

In an interview with CNN this morning, Fauci said the numbers being seen now could be just the beginning of what occurred over Thanksgiving due to gatherings and travel. Fauci warned the Christmas period could be even worse

‘What we likely will see is either a blip upon a blip, or what I referred to last week as a surge upon a surge. How large it’s going to be is really going to vary across the country,’ he said. 

‘We’re probably just on the beginning of seeing what occurred at Thanksgiving.

‘I hope that people realize that and understand that as difficult as this is, nobody wants to modify – if not essentially shut down – their holiday season, but we are in a very critical time in this country right now.

‘We’ve got to not walk away from the facts and the data… This is tough going for all of us.’ 

He noted that restrictions being put in place across parts of the country could potentially blunt the surges. 

California entered a second lockdown as of 11.59pm last night with 33 million of the state’s 40 million residents facing increased restrictions.

Governor Gavin Newsom had warned the restrictions would be enforced when ICU wards were at 85 per cent capacity.  

The new rules prohibit residents from gathering with those outside their household. Retailers including supermarkets and shopping centers can operate with just 20 per cent capacity, while restaurant dining, hair salons, movie theaters, museums and playgrounds must shut down. 

About half of the states across the country have enacted new restrictions in the last month as cases, deaths and hospitalizations hit record levels nationwide. Fourteen states do not mandate masks. 

California entered a second lockdown as of 11.59pm last night with 33 million of the state's 40 million residents facing increased restrictions. Shoppers are seen at the Costco in San Leandro, California yesterday before the lockdown begun

California entered a second lockdown as of 11.59pm last night with 33 million of the state’s 40 million residents facing increased restrictions. Shoppers are seen at the Costco in San Leandro, California yesterday before the lockdown begun

People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Saturday

People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Saturday

Rhode Island is currently the worst affected state across the country with 110 cases per 100,000 people in the last week, CDC data shows. It is the first time in several weeks that a non-Midwestern state has not topped the list. 

Minnesota follows with 105 cases, South Dakota with 100 cases and Wyoming with 90 cases.

The worst affected states for deaths per capita are South Dakota with 2.4 deaths per 100,000 residents in the last seven days. North Dakota follows with 1.8 deaths and Nebraska with 1.5 fatalities. 

Fauci and other public health experts have been warning Americans not to let their guard down given a vaccine is on the horizon.  

An FDA advisory panel is scheduled to take up a request this week to authorize emergency use of Pfizer’s vaccine. Vaccinations could begin just days later but initial supplies will be rationed and the shots are not expected to become widely available in the US until the spring.

Fauci said the vaccine would not immediately impact the mortality rate. 

‘It’s not going to be immediately because if you look at the time frame… when you vaccinate people – not only the health care workers, but vulnerable people, for example in nursing homes – by the time they get an immunity, which would be, you know, you have a prime and then you have a boost and then you have seven to 10 days after the boost,’ he said. 

‘You’re not going to see a measurable diminution for at least several weeks, if not longer. But it will come, I’ll guarantee you. If we get the appropriate people vaccinated, we do it on time and then we go to the next level – there’s no doubt the vaccine will be able to turn this around.’ 

Rhode Island is currently the worst affected state across the country with 110 cases per 100,000 people in the last week, CDC data shows. It is the first time in several weeks that a non-Midwestern state has not topped the list. Minnesota follows with 105 cases, South Dakota with 100 cases and Wyoming with 90 cases

Rhode Island is currently the worst affected state across the country with 110 cases per 100,000 people in the last week, CDC data shows. It is the first time in several weeks that a non-Midwestern state has not topped the list. Minnesota follows with 105 cases, South Dakota with 100 cases and Wyoming with 90 cases

Dr Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, warned yesterday that the current surges would likely be the ‘worst event’ the US faces. 

‘This is not just the worst public health event. This is the worst event that this country will face, not just from a public health side,’ she told NBC’s Meet the Press

‘This fall/winter surge is combining everything that we saw in the spring with everything we saw in the summer — plus the fall surge going into a winter surge.   

‘We cannot go into the holiday season, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, with the same kind of attitude, that those gatherings don’t apply to me… They apply to everybody.

‘If you do not want to lose your grandparents, your aunts, let’s be clear: If you’re over 70, 20 percent of those over 70 who contract COVID-19 are hospitalized, and still, 10 percent of them are lost. So if you have anyone in your family with comorbidities or over 70, you cannot do those things. You cannot gather with your mask off, you cannot hug and kiss people outside.’ 

Birx expressed frustration on Sunday over the mixed messages about masks, social distancing and superspreader events. 

‘Right now, across the Sun Belt, we have governors and mayors who have cases equivalent to what they had in the summertime yet aren’t putting in the same policies and mitigations that they put in the summer, that they know changed the course of this pandemic across the South,’ she said.

‘So it is frustrating because not only do we know what works, governors and mayors used those tools to stem the tide in the spring and the summer.’   

Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned that the daily death toll nationwide could be at almost 4,000 people by mid January.

‘As bad as things are right now, they’re going to get a lot worse,’ he told CBS’s Face the Nation.  

‘I think by the end of the year we’ll be at about 300,000 deaths and by the end of January we could be pushing 400,000 deaths.

‘We’re going to see consistently probably 2,000 deaths per day and as we get into January toward the peak, we’re going to see over 3,000 deaths per day unfortunately, and maybe get close to 4,000 deaths per day.

‘So this is going to get a lot worse before it starts to resolve.’ 


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