Dr. Scott Gottlieb (see our interview with him here), the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, contended Monday night that the pandemic is “about to explode” across the country. The United States eclipsed the nine-million mark only ten days ago.
“The challenge is this virus is distributed everywhere across the country right now,” Gottlieb, who worked at the FDA under President Donald Trump and former President George W. Bush, said during an interview on CNBC.
“We’re going to have a really significant epidemic wave across the entire nation and, unfortunately, it’s going to cause a lot of death and disease before we’re able to have this therapeutic counterattack, not just with the vaccine, but also with these therapeutic antibodies.”
Roughly ten months into the ongoing pandemic, confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the United States is fast approaching 240,000, the highest in the world, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
Forty-three states have reported at least 10 percent more new coronavirus cases compared to last week, and the average daily number of new cases climbed 34 percent to about 120,000 over the past seven days, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That figure is more than three times higher than what was tallied in mid-September.
Amid the surge in new cases, many hospitals across the country are operating at full capacity. For example, UnityPoint Health Des Moines has confirmed that all of its hospital beds are full for the first time since the pandemic began. Just between Friday and Monday, the hospital witnessed a 25 percent increase in admitted COVID-19 patients.
“COVID cases are out of control in Iowa and specifically here in northwestern Iowa. Hospitals are having bed and staff issues,” Dr. Jason Keonin, of Northwest Iowa Surgeons PC in Spencer, Iowa, told The National Interest.
“We need everyone to take this seriously and mask up, practice social distancing, and avoid gatherings. The latter is absolutely critical—especially with weddings, funerals, and the upcoming holidays.”
With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, Dr. Ian Kim, a physician and a professor at the University of California Davis School of Medicine, asserted that people need to be extra cautious about spending the holidays with family members in indoor spaces that are not well ventilated.
“It’s very well established that COVID-19 spreads by close contact, and family gatherings are exactly the kind of close contact that make this pandemic worse,” he told TNI.
“We must approach this holiday season unlike any in living memory. Here is the bottom line: I recommend that you stay home and don’t travel for the holidays. Join your family online instead of in person.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn. Image: Reuters