“This is the biggest public health crisis in a century,” Center for Disease Control director Robert Redfield said bluntly on Thursday.
In fact, Redfield sees the coming flu season in Dickensian language.
“It depends on how the American people choose to react. It’s really the worst or the best timing, up to the American public, ”he said, interpreting the introduction to Charles Dickens’s classic. A story of two cities.
The current pandemic, combined with the upcoming flu season, could create “the worst fall, from a public health perspective we’ve ever had,” the CDC director said in an interview with WebMD. .
To which side will the US fall? Redfield says it depends on Americans who regularly wear masks, 6 feet apart, wash their hands and avoid crowds.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Calling on masked authorities nationwide to stop Coronavirus
“I’m not asking some Americans to do it – we all have to do it,” Redfield said. Somewhere between 95 and 99 percent of Americans will have to follow the instructions to get the United States out of the disaster, he said.
The scenario that health experts warn is that the flu season piles up an already widespread and active pandemic, flooding hospitals and leading to more deaths due to untreated people.
One person who has no hope in the country’s ability to escape disaster is the country’s foremost infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“When you look at other parts of the country,” Fauci said of regions that have not had large spikes yet, “this is what worries me: We are starting to see traces of bulls in percent of positive test. “
It was the first time since May that the country reported 1,500 COVID deaths a day.
“Now we know that is a predictive sign that you will have more bulls,” Fauci said in a discussion organized by National Geographic.
“The point is,” he said, “I’m not satisfied with the way things are going.”
So how many Americans are wearing masks? Where are we near 90% compliance?
A Gallup poll published exactly a month ago found that 44% of adults in the US say they “always” wear a mask when outdoors and 28% say they “very often.” At the same time, three out of 10 reports do so less often, including 11% “sometimes”, 4% “rarely”, and 14% “never”.
According to Johns Hopkins, the US on Thursday saw 55,910 new infections and 1,499 new deaths from the virus. Due to the lack of experimentation and contact tracking, it’s possible that those numbers are a bummer.
A recent New York Times analysis looking at deaths above the national average found that the number of deaths increased very clearly after the spread of the virus. According to Times statistics, at least 200,000 more people have died in the country than usual since March. It is that many Americans are locked in their homes, not working, and just going out to buy groceries.
So what does “the worst demise, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever encountered,” look like?
The 1918 “Spanish” flu pandemic was the deadliest in history. One-third of the world’s population is infected. This virus has killed about 50 million people worldwide, including about 675,000 in the United States. That was when the population of the United States (1917, before the outbreak) was 103 million.
The population of this country in 2019 is more than 3 times, at 328 million people. The current plague has claimed the lives of 165,000 Americans.
The lead author of a new study published Thursday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, Dr. Jeremy Faust, said COVID-19 “had potential in 1918”. Faust is a doctor at Women’s and Brigham Hospitals and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School.
“If the treatment is ineffective, SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] infections can have the same or higher mortality as those infected with the 1918 H1N1 virus, ”according to research.
During the “Spanish” flu pandemic, the largest number of deaths occurred within six weeks between mid-November and late December. One-third of all viral deaths in the US occurred during the period. there.
Chances are the worst is yet to come.