US Coronavirus: Country ‘Turns the Corner in Calamity’, Expert Says, With Covid-19 Deaths Set To Double Soon

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More than 205,000 new cases were reported on Friday – which likely includes both Thursday and Friday reports in some cases, as at least 20 states did not report Covid-19 numbers as of Thanksgiving.

And while there is more good news on the vaccine front, for now Americans need to ‘curl up’ and prepare for a harsh winter ahead, according to Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and professor. guest at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“We cannot let our guard down,” she told CNN on Friday night. “Vaccines will make a big difference in the spring and summer; they won’t make a difference at this time. “

Based on current Covid-19 figures in the United States, the country is far from around the corner, she said.“In fact, we’re turning the corner into a calamity,” Wen said. “We will soon pass well over 2,000 deaths, maybe 3,000, 4,000 deaths every day here in the United States. ”

This projection was echoed by other experts, including Dr Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, who predicts that the daily death toll in the country will likely double in the next 10 days.

You Asked, We Answer: Your Questions About Covid-19

A busy travel weekend planned

The Thanksgiving trips and gatherings that took place over the past week will likely only push cases further on the rise, experts have said, warning of another wave to come.

Reiner previously described the holidays as “potentially the mother of all mass-market events,” with Americans departing from airports across the country and possibly carrying the virus with them, often unknowingly.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans to avoid traveling for vacation this year, but millions have flown since that warning. Officials expect Sunday – with everyone returning from their vacation destinations – to be the busiest travel day since the start of the pandemic.

To prevent the spread of the virus, anyone who has traveled and met with people outside their homes should be quarantined, Wen said.

Air travel to the United States sets pandemic-era record despite calls to stay home for Thanksgiving

“This is because these gatherings, especially indoor gatherings with many people who do not wear masks for extended periods of time, pose the highest risk of transmitting the coronavirus,” she said. Friday. “Quarantine for at least seven days, then get tested. ”

“If you fail to pass a test because the tests are still so limited, you should quarantine yourself for 14 days. And I mean full quarantine, don’t go to work, don’t go to school, stay safe.

Los Angeles County Under Lockdown Order

As more local and state leaders enforce tighter restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, Los Angeles County health officials on Friday announced a new stay-at-home order banning all gatherings. public and private with people outside a single household.

“Residents are urged to stay at home as much as possible and always wear a face covering their nose and mouth when outside their homes and around others,” the public health department said. county in a press release.

The order will go into effect Monday through December 20, the statement said.

Core businesses will need to operate at 35% occupancy while non-core retail operations, personal care services and libraries will operate at 20% occupancy.

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“We know that we are asking a lot from so many people who have sacrificed themselves for months and hope that LA County residents continue to follow public health safety measures which we know can slow the spread,” Barbara Ferrer, the county public service director. health department, said in a statement.

“Acting with the collective urgency now is essential if we are to stop this wave. Please stay home as much as possible and do not get together with other people who are not in your household for the next three weeks, ”added Ferrer.

Meanwhile, the two-week New Mexico statewide “reset” order will move to a county-by-county reopening framework next week, the governor’s office said on Friday.

This will allow “counties and businesses and nonprofits within their residents to operate with fewer restrictions as they slow the spread of the virus and reduce test positivity rates,” Governor Michelle Lujan said. Grisham in a statement.

Counties where the virus is most prevalent, the governor’s office said, will operate under more restrictions.

First mass air shipment of vaccine

And while a vaccine has yet to be given the green light, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday it had supported the “first mass air shipment” of a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Due to the historic pace of vaccine development through Operation Warp Speed ​​and careful logistical planning, the FAA is now supporting the first mass aerial shipment of a vaccine,” the FAA said in a statement.

The agency said it had set up a Covid-19 vaccine air transport team last month to ensure “safe, rapid and efficient transport of vaccines.”

FAA takes charge of the first 'mass air transport' of the Covid-19 vaccine

He says he’s working with manufacturers, airlines and airports to provide advice on regulations to safely transport large amounts of dry ice in air cargo.

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they had submitted emergency use authorization to the United States Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccine candidate. U.S. officials have previously expressed concerns about the handling of the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at extremely cold temperatures.

Meanwhile, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has called for an emergency meeting on Tuesday, where they will vote on which groups of people they recommend to receive a Covid-19 vaccine first, once this will be authorized.

“This is a significant step forward in the development and progression towards 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 its recommendations.

“What we’re seeing now is that the CDC is moving forward and is very proactive and has some of these early discussions before this vaccine is even finished being cleared by the FDA, so they’ll be ready for that data when it does. will come them. Bright said.

CNN’s Pete Muntean, Andy Rose and Sarah Moon contributed to this report.

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