The United States could be headed for an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases that lasts through the holiday season, a public health expert is warning.
There were more than 205,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. and 1,400 patients who died on Friday, CBS News noted, with indications that the numbers will only continue to rise. The report noted that there were increases in daily infections in more than 30 states before Thanksgiving, a time when many families were expected to come together despite recommendations from public health experts to avoid such gatherings. Those conditions could have more dire implications for the future, many warn.
Meeta Shah of the Rush University Medical Center said the lack of social distancing means that the numbers could only continue to increase in the coming weeks, with no break through the start of 2021.
“We will not get a reprieve because then Christmas comes and then New Year comes,” Shah said.
“So, if we’re just stacking surge upon surge upon surge, I am significantly worried about that.”
As CBS News added, a number of states and cities have already tightened restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Despite the efforts, others share Shah’s prediction that infections will likely continue to rise, just as experts had predicted would happen once colder months forced people inside and made social distancing more difficult.
Leana Wen, an emergency medicine physician and a visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told CNN that Americans need to stay at home as much as possible to keep numbers down until vaccines are on the way sometime next year.
But until then, Wen had some dire predictions of just how bad the coronavirus situation could get before things start to get better.
“If anything, we are rounding the corner into a calamity,” Wen said.
“We’re soon going to exceed well more than 2,000 deaths, maybe 3,000, 4,000 deaths every single day here in the US.”
There were others predicting exponential growth in coronavirus infections in the coming weeks. As CNN added, fellow George Washington University professor Jonathan Reiner predicted that the daily death toll would likely double within 10 days, and could soon reach 4,000 deaths each day.
November has been one of the worst months for the coronavirus to date, with a total of 4 million infections in the U.S. and still days to go before the calendar turns to December. As CNN noted, that total is close to 30 percent of the 13.2 million official U.S. cases since the start of the pandemic.