The new COVID-19 cases were more than double the previous monthly record set in October, as large numbers of Americans still refuse to wear masks and continue to congregate in holiday crowds, against expert recommendations. With outgoing President Donald Trump’s coronavirus strategy relying heavily on a vaccine, a group of external advisers from the Food and Drug Administration will meet on December 10 to discuss whether to recommend the FDA to allow the use of emergency of a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.
Advisers will consider a second candidate, from Moderna Inc., a week later, officials said, raising hopes Americans could start receiving vaccines before the end of the year, although it could take months. to widely immunize people across the country.
Other global pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca PLC and Johnson & Johnson, also have vaccines in the works, leading a member of the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” program to predict the country could be vaccinated by June.
“One hundred percent of Americans who want the vaccine will get the vaccine from here [June]. We will have over 300 million doses available to the American public long before that date, ”Paul Ostrowski, director of supply, production and distribution of the immunization program, told MSNBC television on Monday.
‘I can’t come early enough’
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said officials in his state have identified 10 hospitals that will receive the first doses of the vaccine, which he says are expected to arrive around Dec. 15.
In the coming days, the state will notify the federal government of other locations where shipments are expected to be made, he said. DeWine, interviewed on CBS ‘ This morning Tuesday, added that the National Guard may get involved in transferring vaccines to smaller counties.
First responders, nurses and doctors will be the first in line for vaccines, as well as nursing home patients, he said.
“That December 15 date just can’t come soon enough,” DeWine said. “We are very excited and very happy about it. ”
In the meantime, top health officials are imploring Americans to follow their recommendations and help stop a pandemic that killed more than 36,000 people in November, pushing hospitalizations to a record high of nearly 93,000 on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally.
In Rhode Island, where the number of cases is on the rise, authorities have opened two field hospitals with 900 beds combined to deal with an expected increase in the number of COVID-19 patients.
Care New England opened a field hospital with more than 300 beds in Cranston on Monday, the same day the state sent an emergency alert saying conventional hospitals had reached their coronavirus capacity. A facility with nearly 600 beds opened Tuesday at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. It is managed by Lifespan, the largest hospital group in the state.
There were 365 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals on Saturday, according to the State Department of Health. That’s down from the high of 381 on November 23.
In Worcester, Mass., The National Guard transported cribs, medical supplies, tables and other items needed to operate a 250-bed field hospital in case the state’s medical centers were overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, an Alabama health official said hospitals treating record numbers of COVID-19 patients are bracing for a “tidal wave” of additional cases linked to the holiday gatherings. Dr Jeanne Marrazzo of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said health care systems could be overwhelmed in two or three weeks.
The Alabama Hospital Association said only 11% of the state’s intensive care beds were available on Monday.
States impose new restrictions
With more than 10,000 people dead and 1.1 million contracting the coronavirus in the week ending Sunday, Republican Trump remained focused on overturning the November 3 election results won by the president-elect. Democrat Joe Biden, denying Trump a second term.
Biden pledged to make the fight against the coronavirus his top priority when he takes office on January 20, saying he will be supported by the best scientific evidence.
Millions of Americans have defied expert advice and traveled over Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest times of the year in the United States to fly.
The number of travelers passing through U.S. airports reached 981,912 on Monday, up from 1.18 million on Sunday, the most marked since government restrictions began drastically cutting travel in March, the Transportation Security Administration said.
The two-day travel numbers were less than half of their levels a year ago, the TSA said.
WATCH | Fears that American Thanksgiving is becoming a very common event:
In the absence of a federal plan to curb the spread of the virus, some states – but not all – are issuing new or revamped restrictions on business and social life.
The governor of California has said he may renew a stay-at-home order in the coming days, warning that intensive care admissions are on track to exceed state capacity by mid-December unless that public health policies and social behavior change.
“Red flags are flying,” Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters in an online briefing. “If these trends continue, we will have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action. ”
Meanwhile, the families of 15 public school students sued the state on Monday, saying it had failed to provide equal education to poor and minority children during the pandemic.
The students, who range from kindergarten to high school and were only identified by first name in court documents, were not given devices and internet connections to take classes online, according to the lawsuit, the first the kind in the United States.
Unlike California, the governor of Florida has promised not to pass other restrictions or impose closures like those passed in the spring and summer, despite the increase in the number of cases.
The state joined Texas and California on Tuesday to surpass one million confirmed cases of COVID-19.
It also reported 82 new deaths from the virus, with COVID-19-related hospitalizations rising to 4,261. The figure is still less than half of what hospitals saw at the end of July, but it does not ‘has stopped increasing since October after peaking at around 2,000 hospitalizations per day for weeks after the summer outbreak of the virus.