‘Almost a Worst Case Scenario’: Former CDC Director Publishes ‘Horrible’ Outlook for New Strain of Covid

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Topline

Former CDC Director Dr Tom Frieden warns the United States may soon face “a near-worst case scenario” as a new, highly contagious strain of Covid-19 spreads across the country, warning that full hospitals in the United States may soon be the norm.

Highlights

Frieden said of the rapidly spreading tension in the UK and Ireland: “I’ve never seen an epidemic curve like this.”
The UK is averaging nearly 60,000 new cases per day now, after recording an average of around 15,000 new cases per day in early December, while Ireland’s progress has been even faster.
The two countries are strictly on lockdown, but cases continue to increase at a rate Frieden – who has spent decades working in public health – says he has never seen.
Eight states (Connecticut, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, Florida, California and Colorado) have confirmed at least one case of the new strain, which was identified in England in December.
There are fears that the tension is already spreading widely in the United States; the first case confirmed on Dec. 29 was from a man in rural Colorado who had no recent travel history.

Crucial quote

“The next 11+ days are horrible. Uncontrolled spread. Slow deployment of the vaccine. Disturbing variations, ”Frieden wrote in a tweet on Friday. “Perfect storm potential. Political turmoil and leadership void. ”

Large number

56%. This is how the new strain may be more transmissible than other strains of Covid-19, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine.

Key context

The coronavirus pandemic is now wreaking worse havoc in the United States than at any time in the nearly a year that the virus has been in the United States. For the first time, more than 4,000 deaths were reported in a single day Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University – on the third day in a row the United States set a new death record. More than 130,000 patients are hospitalized for Covid in the United States, according to the COVID Tracking Project, while the number of new daily cases has exceeded 250,000 two in the last six days.

To monitor

Vaccine rollout has been much slower than expected as many states appear to lack adequate release plans. President-elect Joe Biden has said that when he takes office on January 20, he plans to authorize the distribution of almost all of the coronavirus vaccine, breaking with the Trump administration, which withheld the vaccines in order to to make sure that those shot will have a second dose.

Further reading

New, more contagious strain of British coronavirus found in Connecticut – Here are the states with cases so far (Forbes)

New strain of coronavirus is 56% more infectious, scientists say (Forbes)

Biden says he will release nearly all available coronavirus vaccines before second doses are given (The Washington Post)

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