White House science adviser Dr Deborah Birx has warned the United States is entering a new “deadly phase” of the coronavirus pandemic, and called for an “aggressive” approach to contain its spread.
Birx gave the warning in a written note given to senior administration officials on Monday. This is a direct contradiction to one of the central and false messages of Donald Trump’s closing campaign – that the United States is “turning the corner” on the pandemic.
“We are entering the most worrying and deadliest phase of this pandemic,” Birx wrote in the note, first reported by The Washington Post.
She continued, “Cases are increasing rapidly in nearly 30% of all counties in the United States, the most county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic. Half of the United States is in the red or amber zone for cases despite stagnant or declining tests. “
The memo came as Trump gathered hundreds of people in face-to-face rallies in key swing states, and warned his political rival Joe Biden would lock the country down again.
“It’s not about lockdowns – it’s not about lockdowns since March or April,” Birx said. “This is an aggressive and balanced approach that is not implemented.”
Americans need “consistent messages on the consistent use of masks, physical distancing, and handwashing, with deep limitation on gatherings indoors, especially with family and friends,” he said. she writes.
The news of the note comes after Dr Anthony Fauci, considered the leading infectious disease expert in the United States, who is the senior public health official on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, while Birx is the team coordinator, has warned that winter will bring great harm, “if the United States does not immediately change the trajectory of the pandemic.
The United States set a world record for new cases this weekend, with more than 100,000 new diagnoses in one day. Hospitalizations have increased alongside new infections. Deaths, seen as a lagging indicator, have also increased slightly.
Deaths have not reached the highs seen last spring, when the virus overwhelmed hospital systems in the Northeast and in New York in particular. But experts have warned they could hit those levels again, if hospital systems were overwhelmed and couldn’t find the nurses needed to treat patients.
Already, hospital systems are struggling to find nurses, train those with limited experience working in field hospitals, and rely on traveling nurses to provide care.
Experienced nurses are “exhausted from this (pandemic)” and some are quitting, said Kevin Fitzpatrick, an emergency room nurse at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan. “Replacing them is not easy,” he added.
Meanwhile, the nursing home industry, home to America’s most medically vulnerable residents, has warned that cases are growing inside facilities and the community’s spread will find inevitably its way inside establishments.
Personal protective equipment experts also warn of shortages, including nitrile gloves. Dr Shikha Gupta, executive director of the nonprofit Get Us PPE, warned, “We are absolutely unprepared for what this will bring as hospitals reach capacity across the United States with a increase in the number of cases. “