The US saw another record spike in COVID-19 cases, seeing the largest daily jump in infections since July.
The number of cases continues to rise alarmingly across the country. Experts warn that this could be a sign that infection rates are compounded by the colder weather.
Ten states, including Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, confirmed their highest jumps in daily cases since the pandemic began.
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Epidemiologist and former Detroit health director Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, warned people that they need to take extra precautions in the colder months.
“When we saw this type of transmission earlier in the March and April pandemic, the virus wasn’t seeded everywhere,” he told CNN.
“This rise has the potential to be a lot worse than it was – either in spring or in summer.”
After the numbers fell over the summer, the country hit a tipping point in its coronavirus outbreak in the second week of September, with a new daily average of more than 50,000 according to the latest numbers, and the trajectory is up.
The US is the hardest-hit country in the world, with more than eight million cases and more than 219,600 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Geographically, the major hot spots are in the upper Midwest and parts of the Rocky Mountains to the west, while parts of the northeast that were first hard hit are seeing their eruptions rekindle.
The director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, claimed the US was facing “big trouble”.
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Speaking to CNBC, Dr. Fauci expressed concern to other health professionals about cases that would only increase over the next few months.
“This is a bad place when you go into the cooler weather of autumn and the colder weather of winter. In addition, we want the percentage positivity to go down, ”he said.
Dr. Fauci described the COVID-19 pandemic as an “outbreak of historic proportions such as we have not seen in 102 years”.
“There’s no chance I’ll give this up and walk away from it no matter what,” he said.
EMERGENCY STOP PERMIT
With virus cases continuing to surge across the country, two American companies are expected to apply for emergency clearance for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates by the end of November.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Friday it hoped to advance its vaccine after safety data became available in the third week of November, just weeks after the November 3 presidential election.
The announcement means the US could have two vaccines ready by the end of the year. Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna is seeking approval by November 25th.
“Let me be clear that assuming positive data, Pfizer will file an emergency permit application soon after the US safety milestone is reached in the third week of November,” said Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla in an open letter.
However, experts warn that it will take many months for vaccines to become widely available.
And unlike vaccines for other diseases like measles, experts believe that when COVID-19 vaccines come, they are nowhere near 100 percent effective.
There is no doubt that vaccines are a vital tool in fighting the spread of the virus, but experts have stated that they cannot replace behavioral measures like masks and social distancing to curb transmission.
Priya Sampathkumar, a doctor and professor of infectious diseases at Mayo Clinic, told AFP that a vaccine is not a “miracle cure” in the fight against the coronavirus.
“It is welcome news that there is one more thing that can help prevent the transmission of COVID,” said Dr. Sampathkumar.
“But I think we have to be careful and understand that a vaccine is not a magic bullet.”
– With AFP
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