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CDC head warns of dire problem from Covid-19 surge

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The US is heading for the hardest three months in its public well being historical past, the pinnacle of the nation’s public well being organisation has warned, with officers braced for an additional surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations following final week’s Thanksgiving vacation.

Robert Redfield, the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, or CDC, mentioned at a US Chamber of Commerce occasion on Wednesday he thought this winter could be notably troublesome given already excessive an infection charges throughout the nation.

Whereas the US is predicted to approve a vaccine within the coming weeks, it is not going to be universally available till subsequent summer time.

“The fact is that December, January and February are going to be probably the most troublesome time within the public well being historical past of this nation, largely due to the stress that it’ll placed on our healthcare system,” Dr Redfield mentioned.

The warning comes as US coronavirus circumstances, hospitalisations and deaths have all soared in latest weeks, with greater than 1m folks being identified with the illness each week in November.

Hospitalisations have greater than doubled for the reason that finish of October to succeed in a file 98,691. On Tuesday the US reported 2,473 deaths and 176,751 new circumstances, in accordance with Covid Monitoring Venture knowledge. That was the largest one-day bounce in deaths since Could 7 and among the many largest will increase of the whole pandemic. California, Texas and Florida — the three most populous US states — have every registered greater than 1m circumstances apiece.

Dr Redfield mentioned hospitals had been already overstretched given the excessive charges of an infection spreading quickly throughout a lot of the nation. With nearly each area affected, there are fewer locations with accessible healthcare sources and employees that may be shifted to hotspots, he mentioned.

Officers anticipate one other rise in circumstances throughout the subsequent few days as a result of so many individuals ignored official advice to not journey over Thanksgiving.

“Journey quantity was excessive over Thanksgiving,” Cindy Friedman, chief of the travellers’ well being department at CDC, advised reporters on Wednesday. “Even when solely a small proportion of these folks had been carrying the illness and handed it on to different folks, that may translate into a whole bunch of hundreds of extra infections.”

CDC is urging folks to not journey for Christmas — and for individuals who do, the company recommends they need to get a Covid-19 test between one and three days earlier than travelling, and once more between three and 5 days after. Additionally they advocate that individuals keep away from non-essential actions for the week after travelling.

In the meantime, CDC has additionally relaxed its pointers round how lengthy folks have to stay in quarantine if they arrive into contact with an contaminated particular person.

As a substitute of remaining at residence for 14 days, anybody uncovered to the illness can now go away quarantine after 10 days in the event that they don’t have any signs, and even seven days if additionally they take a look at damaging for the illness.

A CDC official mentioned: “If you happen to cut back the burden somewhat bit, accepting that it comes at a small price, we could get a higher compliance total with folks finishing a full seven days. If we get full compliance total that may lead to fewer infections.”

Officers have calculated the chance of somebody infecting one other particular person even after finishing a 10-day quarantine interval at 1 per cent, and the chance of doing so after seven days at 5 per cent.

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