Covid-19 has brought US ‘to its knees’: CDC chief

Coronavirus Task Force Press Conference
Experts urged people not to go crowed place. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Covid-19 has “brought this nation to its knees. During a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday, the CDC chief said the country is probably going to spend about $7 trillion “because of one little virus”.

“We’ve all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus.”

The comments of CDC chief came when half of US states are seeing spikes in new coronavirus cases — and according to health officials, it’s not just due to increased testing.

As of Tuesday, 25 states have recorded higher rates of new cases compared to last week: Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the US CDC, said: ”No state has effectively transitioned from stay-at-home orders “to a public health model of testing, tracking, isolating and quarantining.”

Besser told to CNN: “We have to figure out how to make that transition in a successful way, or every state that reopens — even those that have done a really good job at tamping this down — are going to see pretty dramatic rises.”

“And we’re going to end up back to where we were.”

Dr. Faucion hearing. Source: AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci told the House committee Tuesday that if the U.S. doesn’t get control of the coronavirus pandemic by fall, “you’re essentially chasing after a forest fire”.

The goal would be to get complete control of the virus instead of just mitigating it, which is happening now, said Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

CDC chief said the virus has exposed decades of underinvesting in the “core capabilities of public health data,” adding that its time to fix the broken system.

He said: “This needs to be a partnership. It’s not all the burden of the federal government to invest in public health at the local level.” In reality, “if your funding of CDC was to go away tomorrow, public health infrastructure across this nation would just crash.”

Meanwhile, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, almost 121,000 have died in the US and more than 2.3 million people have been infected with coronavirus.

Fauci said: “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we’re seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and in other states — they’re not the only ones having difficulty.”

He made a plea to all Americans: “Plan A: Don’t go in a crowd. Plan B: If you do, make sure you wear a mask.”

Why the timing of these surges makes sense

Health experts say the spikes in new cases now coincide with states starting to reopen several weeks ago — with many people refusing or abandoning safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota, said: “Two weeks ago, we had 17 states with increasing cases,” but that number has now jumped to at least 25 states.

Osterholm said: ”We’re likely to move more states into that category of increasing cases very shortly. So, we are seeing what in a sense is the reaction in the virus to opening up and having much more contact with each other.”

Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Fauci, and Adm. Brett Giroir testifies before a House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Source: AP

While health officials expected new cases as states reopened, many did not expect new cases and hospitalizations to rise so dramatically in some places.

This week, Arizona set a new record for the number of people hospitalized on a given day with Covid-19. According to data from the COVID Tracking Project, about 2,000 get hospitalized in the states that day. The state’s seven-day moving average of hospitalizations is also going up.

Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, said: “People are being admitted to hospital beds and being admitted to ICU (intensive care unit) beds faster than they’re being discharged.”

Almost 84% of Arizona’s ICU beds are already full. Humble said he’s worried hospitals will go into “crisis standards of care,” which basically means “lower care for everybody, not just people with Covid-19.”

California recorded more than 35% of its total infections from the entire pandemic in just the past two weeks. 

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