This winter could be "the most difficult time in this country's public health history," CDC Director Robert Redfield said recently.
Photo by Frederic J. Brown / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
As the United States battles its third COVID-19 surge, a recent report suggests what may have contributed to an increase in the number of cases in recent months.
According to an analysis by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, social distancing, the public health recommendation that people be at least two meters physically apart to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, "has been growing." that spring decreased dramatically, "Rutgers and Northwestern Universities.
In a silver lining, wearing masks – which scientists now say protect the wearer in addition to those around them – has increased, according to the report.
The authors, who are part of a cross-university initiative called the COVID States Project, tracked a "general upward trend" in many activities that bring people from different households together indoors: for example, the proportion of respondents who said they or a member of To be with them The household was in a room last day where people outside their household had increased from 26% to 45% between April and October.
"Social distancing eased significantly after May, and the disease, which wasn't defeated in the summer and now lurks everywhere, has once again demonstrated its presence with the cooler weather in the fall, starting in states where social distancing is on was least. "
During the same period, the proportion of respondents who stated that they had been in groups of 11 to 100 or more on the previous day rose from 2.4% to 6.4%.
In addition, "the states with the lowest levels of social distancing behavior and wearing of masks are currently suffering from the worst outbreaks," the report said.
States in the northeast and west coast that are hardest hit by international travelers were hit by the virus first, according to the authors. When the whole nation began to practice social distancing, the virus "subsided significantly".
"Social distancing eased significantly after May, and the disease, which wasn't defeated in the summer and now lurks everywhere, has once again demonstrated its presence with the cooler weather in the fall, starting in states where social distancing is on the least, "added the authors.
Compliance with regulations to avoid contact with other people, avoiding public and crowded places, frequent hand washing and disinfecting surfaces – all behaviors recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – reached one in October All-time low, according to the researchers.
But mask wear "increased steadily through the end of August and has remained stable since then," they added. Around 77% of those surveyed stated that they followed the recommendations for wearing masks “very closely” in November.
In the past six months, there has also been significant party-political behavioral differences, particularly with regard to social distancing: while both Democrats and Republicans decreased their social distancing and increased the wearing of masks, Democrats were slower than Republicans to decrease social distancing and wear the mask to enlarge it faster.
The report analyzed monthly surveys of thousands of respondents conducted as part of ongoing research in all 50 states and Washington, DC since April.
Against this background, "there is an indication of a countertrend in the last wave of the survey," said the authors, possibly due to the current rise in COVID-19. Some health-related behaviors have moved modestly toward virus suppression, they said.
Another recent report by the same research group found that, on average, "significant majorities" of Americans surveyed in November – 60% or more – support all seven restrictive measures the researchers surveyed, including asking people to stay home and avoiding gatherings (85)%), canceling important sports and entertainment events (78%) and restricting international travel to the USA (88%).
The U.S. recorded 216,548 new COVID-19 cases and at least 2,857 deaths on Thursday, up from 2,885 deaths on Wednesday. This emerges from a report by the New York Times. The country has recorded an average of 180,327 cases per day for the past week, and 100,667 COVID-19 hospitalizations were recorded on Thursday.
CDC director Robert Redfield warned on Wednesday that the death toll in the US – 277,958 on Friday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University – could reach 450,000 by February. He suggested that this winter "could be the most difficult time in this country's public health history, largely because of the stress it will place on our health system".
President-elect Joe Biden told CNN Thursday that he would ask Americans to wear a mask during his first 100 days in office to help slow the spread of COVID-19. He said he would also put in place rules of procedure requiring masks to be worn in places where he is authorized, such as in interstate transportation or in federal buildings.
"Just masking for 100 days, not forever," Biden said. "I think we will see a significant reduction."