More than 4 million total cases of the pandemic were reported in November (around 30%), and more than 100,000 cases have been recorded every day for the past 26 consecutive days, JHU said.
Despite calls from officials and health experts to stay home, there was still an increase in trips on Thanksgiving week. As the weather cools and more people congregate indoors, experts have warned that the already growing number of cases could worsen in the coming weeks.
“If anything, we are turning the corner into a calamity,” said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. “We will soon pass well over 2,000 deaths, maybe 3,000, 4,000 deaths every day here in the United States.”
Los Angeles County under ‘disturbing’ peak
In Los Angeles County alone, at least 1,951 people were hospitalized on Saturday as health officials monitor rising coronavirus parameters.
“The last time the county saw numbers this high in our hospitals was in August,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County director of public health, said on Saturday.
The county saw “a slight increase in deaths earlier this week,” Ferrer said, but the increase is still of concern and underlines the importance of following housekeeping orders.
“Even if you don’t feel sick, just getting together with people outside your home puts everyone at risk,” Ferrer said. “No amount of inspections or fines will replace individual compliance, with people staying at home, not congregating, wearing proper face covering and distancing themselves,” Ferrer stressed.
“I understand everyone’s frustration. We are heading into the holiday season and more than anything, we all can’t wait to spend time with our friends and family,” she said.
And the number of cases is increasing for healthcare workers – especially nurses in the region, Ferrer said.
When there is a flare-up and there is more community transmission, healthcare workers have “a double jeopardy,” Ferrer said. “They are more at risk in the community, and there are more patients at their jobs, so they are treating a lot more people.”
With the county already having around 75% capacity for hospital beds, residents ignoring precautions during holiday weekends could result in “a push in more than a push,” Ferrer said.
Develop a strategy on how to communicate a vaccine to the public
While the best defense against the spread of the virus is always to take preventative measures, researchers and officials are working to get a vaccine out to the public.
Meanwhile, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday, where members will vote on which groups of people should receive a Covid-19 vaccine first, once it will be allowed.
“This is a significant step forward in the development and progression toward vaccine availability,” Rick Bright, member of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisory board said Friday.
The committee usually meets after a vaccine is authorized to make recommendations.
Board member Dr. Celine Gounder told CNN vaccinations could start before 2021, which is in line with projections made by other health experts.
“People who do things that we really can’t do without” should be among the first to get the vaccine, Gounder said.
“Doctors, nurses who treat patients in the hospital, including coronavirus patients, should be among the first to receive the vaccine,” Gounder told CNN’s Boris Sanchez on Saturday. “Beyond that, there are other frontline workers, essential workers, whether they are people who work in food and meat processing, people who are at the grocery store checkout. .
People at higher risk of serious illness from the coronavirus should also be considered for early vaccination, she said.
And while most adults will have access to vaccines by next year, children may have to wait much longer, according to Dr. Esther Choo, professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. .
“It’s kind of a phase three most likely because kids, for the most part, are doing well in this pandemic,” Choo told CNN’s Amara Walker on Saturday. “They’re on the list, but we’ll try to focus on the elderly first and those with multiple co-morbidities.”
CNN’s Christina Maxouris, Melissa Alonso, Alta Spells, Chuck Johnston, Amanda Watts and Leanna Faulk contributed to this report.