More than 4 million of the total cases of the pandemic have been reported in the month of November (about 30%), and more than 100,000 cases have been recorded every day for the last 26 consecutive days, JHU said.
Despite calls from officials and health experts to stay home, there was still an uptick in in travel the week of Thanksgiving. With weather getting colder and more people gathering indoors, experts have cautioned that the already climbing number of cases could get worse in the coming weeks.
“If anything, we are rounding the corner into a calamity,” said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency medicine physician and a visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. “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.”
Los Angeles County under a ‘concerning’ spike
In Los Angeles County alone, at least 1,951 people were hospitalized on Saturday as health officials watch concerning increases in coronavirus metrics.
“The last time the county saw numbers this high at our hospitals was in August,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health director, said Saturday.
The county saw “a small increase in deaths earlier this week,” said Ferrer, but that increase is still concerning and highlights the importance of following stay-home orders.
“Even if you’re not feeling sick, the simple act of gathering with people outside your household puts everyone at risk,” according to Ferrer. “No amount of inspections or fines will replace individual compliance, people staying home, not gathering, wearing a face covering properly, and distancing,” Ferrer emphasized.
“I understand everyone’s frustration. We’re headed into the holiday season and more than anything, we’re all longing to spend time with our friends and family,” she said.
And the number of cases is rising for healthcare workers — particularly nurses in the area, Ferrer said.
When there is a surge, and there’s more community transmission, healthcare workers have “double jeopardy,” said Ferrer. “They have more jeopardy out in the community, and there are more patients at their jobs, and so they’re treating many more people.”
With the county at about 75% capacity for hospital beds already, residents disregarding precautions over holiday weekends could lead to “a surge on top of a surge,” Ferrer said.
Strategizing how to get a vaccine to the public
While the best defense against the virus’ spread is still following preventative measures, researchers and officials are working to get a vaccine out to the public.