When it comes to measuring escalation, the United States is “not well placed,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director Dr.Anthony Fauci said in a meeting. virtual questions and answers Wednesday. Health experts have pushed for measures against the virus to lower the baseline of infections before the colder months put them back on the rise. But the growing number of cases and hospitalizations is “a bad recipe for a difficult time ahead,” Fauci said.
In the Midwest, residents are being hit by rising cases with skyrocketing hospitalization rates.
Indiana and Wisconsin have reported their peak levels of coronavirus hospitalizations. And Kansas has seen the most intensive care hospitalizations from the virus in a day, on the same day the state passed 1,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Mask forces hospitalizations to be reduced, study finds
Mask warrants may be a key strategy for reducing hospitalization rates, according to a study from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.
In hospitals where more than 75% of patients were from counties requiring masks, hospitalization rates did not increase between July and October, while hospitals with less than 25% of patients from those counties saw an increase. more than 200%.
Other mitigating factors likely came into play, as areas with mask requirements are more likely to have residents following other mitigation strategies, the authors wrote.
“The good news is that we have learned a lot since the start of the pandemic,” they said. “An important takeaway from this analysis is that areas with virus mitigation strategies (…) have experienced lower growth in hospitalizations since the summer months; hospitals in these areas are much better positioned to meet the full range of health needs of the community, COVID-19 patients. ”
As the weather continues to cool, Fauci said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday that he supports a national mask mandate.
“We’re going to have a lot more hospitalizations and that will inevitably lead to more deaths. So this is an untenable situation. This is the reason why I say we have to do these things, ”Fauci said.
While in favor of a mask mandate, Fauci said he doesn’t think it will happen nationally “because it might not come from the White House to do it.”
States concerned about alarming hospitalization rates
Many state leaders are implementing measures to contain rising hospitalization rates.
Small hospitals in North Carolina are starting to feel “a bit squeezed” as hospital admissions increase in the state, said Gov. Roy Cooper, who added officials are concerned about the rise.
“Too often we let our guard down when we are with people we know and trust. But knowing and trusting doesn’t stop the virus, ”Cooper said.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations in Tennessee are increasing at “an alarming rate right now, with records set every day,” said Dr. Wendy Long, president and CEO of the Tennessee Hospital Association, at a briefing.
Hospitals “are doing everything they can to increase their capacity, but their capacity to do so is not unlimited,” Long said. “This is all the more true as we see more and more health care providers falling ill with the virus and having to quarantine themselves at home.”
Illionis “is moving closer to statewide implementation of mitigation,” Governor JB Pritzker said Wednesday, as several regions see positivity rates rise.
‘We don’t know’ when the vaccine will be available
The vaccines being tested have sparked both controversy and hopes of bringing the virus under control, but Fauci said such a vaccine may not be available until January or later.
“We want to see good enough safety data and even extended efficacy data,” Fauci said during the question period. “Maybe January, maybe later. We do not know. “
Dozens of companies are working on a vaccine and five of them are currently in phase 3 trials, he said. Officials have already discussed how to distribute one if it needs to be approved.
Leaving the distribution to the states could lead to confusion and chaos, a former Health and Human Services secretary said on Wednesday.
“The state-by-state approach is, you know, to put a precise point on this, it’s pretty crazy as far as I’m concerned,” former HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a live panel. of the Aspen Institute.
“This leaves a high possibility of very inequitable distribution and chaotic type of transport to get to the sites where you vaccinate,” said Sebelius, who served under President Barack Obama.
CNN’s Maggie Fox, Andrea Diaz, Jacqueline Howard, Gisela Crespo, Rebekah Riess, Raja Razek, Shelby Lin Erdman and Nadia Kounang contributed to this report.