THANKSGIVING Day plans will almost guarantee a spike in coronavirus cases across the United States, warns a doctor, as the country continues to see an unprecedented soaring of new cases with 73,000 alone on Monday.
Dr. James Phillips, Chief of Disaster Medicine George Washington University Hospital, told CNN he is "terrified" about the country following the Thanksgiving holiday and what it would mean for coronavirus cases, just as the country hit a record 73,014 new cases on November 16 alone.
"We're going to see an unprecedented surge of cases following Thanksgiving this year," Phillips said. "And if people don't learn from Thanksgiving, we're going to see it after Christmas as well."
As Covid-19 patients continue to struggle to return to normalcy following their hospitalization, Phillips offered a sombering look at the nation just a week after the United States topped 100,000 daily infections for the first time.
On Friday, it reported over 184,000 infections, with hospitalizations hitting an all-time high for the fourth day in a row with over 68,500 new patients in the country, about 10,000 hospitalizations higher than during the spring and summer.
More sombering, the nation's death toll passed 1,300 more than three times this week.
Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore Health Commissioner and CNN medical analyst, echoed Phillips' concerns. "Things are going to get much, much worse."
Wen said the exponential amount of cases means straining an already-crowded health care system. "We have this firestorm of coronavirus all across the country," she said. "It's not one or two hotspots, the entire country is a hotspot of coronavirus infection."
As the country continues to see an unprecedented explosion in new coronavirus cases, governors are taking matters into their own hands and placing restrictions on their residents' movement at a time when the federal government is missing.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a temporary "statewide order closing in-person services for all nonessential activities" beginning November 16 until the 30. Soon afterwards, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a "two-week freeze" that limited gatherings to six people.
"When cases are increasing at this pace, it is really important for us to act quickly," said California's acting public health officer Dr. Erica Pan.
California reported close to 10,000 new cases Saturday, with officials warning the state was seeing the fastest rate of increase in the number of daily coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Maryland also saw "by far the largest daily increase we've ever seen," according to Governor Larry Hogan.
But it's specifically how Americans conduct themselves in the coming weeks that will have a "profound impact" on the country at large, said former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
"This is a grim day for the country, because we're seeing cases skyrocketing, we're seeing hospitals fill up and we're also seeing the death toll march up," Murthy said, who is also the co-chair of president-elect Joe Biden's Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board.
"We're at a point now, even pre-Thanksgiving, where we are surging beyond any level that we have seen over the last eight months," he said, adding people should remain socially distant and wear masks even when among relatives.
"If you're thinking about going home for Thanksgiving, ask yourself if you can observe these kinds of precautionary practices, because if you can't, then you may be putting yourself and others at risk."
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