Thanksgiving is over. Christmas is around the corner. What now?
The U.S. set a record for COVID-related hospitalizations for nearly 100,000 patients Tuesday, and health professionals are concerned about an impending spike in Thanksgiving travel. Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, a member of the COVID-19 advisory board to President-elect Joe Biden, told CBS, "What happened during Thanksgiving is like a 100 mph wind going into a forest fire."
Transportation Security Administration data showed that 3 million travelers passed TSA checkpoints over the weekend, the most since March 16, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Urging people not to travel to see family and friends Visiting friends to try to contain the spread of COVID-19.
This prompted Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that he was concerned about another major outbreak: “What we unfortunately expect as we go for that next few weeks into December so we can see a spike overlaying the spike we're already on. "
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were "alarmed" by the 1 million new infections in the past week and recommended not to attend this Thanksgiving Day. Possible alternatives include a virtual Thanksgiving dinner with friends or relatives and contactless delivery of safely prepared traditional dishes to family and neighbors, according to the CDC earlier this month.
Despite these recommendations, AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, estimated that 50 million people disregarded this advice out of 55 million people during the Thanksgiving vacation travel season, which lasted five days from Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29 last year; An estimated 95% traveled by car. AAA used economic forecasts from the insights company IHS Markit.
"Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening and small household gatherings are a major contributor to the spike in COVID-19 cases."
AAA predicted that Thanksgiving air travel this year is down nearly half from 4.58 million last year to 2.4 million. This is the biggest drop in air travel since the start of the year. "AAA reminds air travelers that in-flight amenities, including food and beverage services, may not be available," the group says. "As a precaution, wipe your seat, armrest, belt buckle and tray table with disinfectant wipes."
Some health professionals wonder whether Americans have learned from past mistakes. The early spread of the disease was helped by preparations for China's New Year holiday when people traveled from Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have jumped from animals to people. At the time, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said 5 million people left the city before travel restrictions were imposed.
"COVID-19 spread rapidly from a single city to the whole country in just 30 days," said a February article on the death rate from the disease in peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA. "The sheer speed of both geographic expansion and the sudden increase in the number of cases surprised and quickly overwhelmed health and health services in China."
"It is estimated that the people of China make nearly 3 billion trips during the 40-day travel period (chunyun) of the New Year holiday," a February article read in The Lancet. About a third of those 5 million people who leave Wuhan have traveled to places outside of Hubei Province. "Limiting these people's social contacts was critical to COVID-19 control," it said.
"Government policies enacted during the Chinese New Year holiday have likely helped reduce the spread of the virus by decreasing contact and increasing the physical distance between those who have COVID-19 and those who don't . As part of this social distancing policy, the Chinese government encouraged people to stay at home. discouraged mass gatherings, ”he added.
Connected:Joe Biden's Pandemic Plan
AAA said the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and job losses, are preventing some people from traveling. "Given that health and government officials insist that staying at home is the best way to protect yourself and others from illness, the AAA expects travel to decrease by at least 10%, its biggest drop in a year Great recession in 2008, "it continues.
One of the risk factors to consider before attending a gathering is whether COVID-19 is spreading throughout the community. Exposure while traveling; the place and duration of the meeting and whether it is indoors; the number of participants and the ability to physically distance themselves; and the preventive behavior of the participants before and during the meeting, e.g. B. wearing masks.
The CDC said in a recent statement that "the COVID-19 epidemic is unfortunately worsening and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases". As of Wednesday, 64 million people worldwide had COVID-19 with 1,483,227 deaths, 13.7 million cases in the U.S. and 270,691 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice social gatherings unless you are fairly certain that the people you are dealing with are not infected."
A million people tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States alone in the past week. Hospitals in the Midwest and southern states, including Texas and Florida, continued to feel strained. COVID-related hospital stays are at their highest level (over 96,000) since the pandemic began as some states tighten restrictions. California introduced a 10 p.m. Curfew until 5 a.m. for indoor gatherings.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Allergy and Infectious Disease Institute who worked with six presidential administrations, told CBS News last month: “Household broadcasting is now assuming a greater element of portability. Don't assume that because you are home with your own family, you won't spread the infection. "
Before Thanksgiving, Fauci said his children would not visit him, which is also the case for other festivals. "Thanksgiving is going to be very different this year," he said. "I'd love to be with my kids, but my kids are in three different states across the country and to get here they'd all have to go to an airport and get on a plane."
"People should be very careful and circumspect at social gatherings," he added. “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice social gatherings unless you are fairly certain that the people you deal with are not infected, have recently been tested, or are leading a lifestyle in which they are don't do this have no interaction with anyone but you and your family. "
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Last week AstraZeneca
and Oxford University said their coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective when given as a half dose and a full dose a month later. The effectiveness drops to 62% when two full doses are given one month apart.
It was later found that the initial half dose, which the company considered the more effective option than two full doses, was inadvertently given to participants. They were also 55 or younger. This age group was not originally disclosed when AstraZeneca said the half and full dosages were more effective. The company defended these flaws and the apparent lack of transparency.
"I'm not going to pretend it's not an interesting result because it is – but I definitely don't get it and I don't think any of us are," said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of research and development, biopharmaceuticals at AstraZeneca.
At the beginning of this month, BioNTech SE
announced progress on a vaccine and said on Wednesday a final analysis showed 95% effectiveness instead of 90%. On Monday Moderna
said his vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective.
Johnson & Johnson
;; Merck & Co.
;; and Sanofi
are also working on rapid coronavirus vaccines. Moderna, Sanofi and AztraZeneca's vaccines do not need to be kept at extremely low temperatures.
"I think these are really exciting results," said Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the AztraZeneca trial, at a news conference last week. "Because the vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system." He said his goal is to make a vaccine that is available everywhere: "I think we actually did it."
The Dow Jones industrial average
In the past week, 30,000 messages were posted on vaccines and progress in changing power to President-elect Joe Biden. The DJIA, the S&P 500 index
and the Nasdaq Composite
gained ground on Tuesday after an overall poor performance on Monday. The surge in cases, particularly in the South and Midwest, continues to weigh on investor concerns.
Fauci was optimistic that the vaccine news could mean millions of Americans will have access to a vaccine by the end of the year, but reiterated that it is unlikely to roll out to the wider population – beyond frontline staff such as health workers, school teachers, and people with underlying health conditions and the elderly at risk – by the second quarter.
More Republican governors are dropping opposition to masks as infections rise and hospitals deal with a spate of cases. "If Iowans don't get involved, we'll lose. Businesses will close again, more schools will be forced to go online, and our healthcare system will fail," said Kim Reynolds, governor of Iowa, this week, following in the footsteps of Officials in West Virginia and North Dakota.
President Trump played golf and ate Thanksgiving with first lady Melania Trump and her son Baron at the White House Thursday. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during an appearance on Fox News Wednesday that the president had made adjustments to previous plans for a major event because he had "worked hard on COVID, among other things."
On Tuesday, Fauci told Colorado Governor Jared Polis during a livestream session Tuesday that the US is at risk of "surge after surge". He said the US was in a public health crisis. "Now that we are in mid to late autumn and moving into winter," added Fauci, "we have seen an increase that has truly surpassed the others due to a variety of circumstances."