As the death toll approaches 350,000, the U.S. is bracing for a post-holiday coronavirus wave. In the coming month, thousands of deaths are expected, with doctors warning that they are at “breaking point” and fighting a “third world war.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, there were 160,606 new cases and 2,051 deaths on New Year’s Day, taking the total number of cases to 20.1 million and the death toll to 347,788.
With more than 10,000 people dying from Covid-19 in the U.S. in the last three days of 2020 alone, Friday’s figures were down from the previous days.
Although the figures are likely to increase again, considering the backlog of records created by the holidays.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Assessment at the University of Washington has estimated that in the next month alone, more than 100,000 people will die.
Hospitalizations are increasingly growing, too. A record of 125,379 Covid 19 patients in the hospital on Thursday and 125,057 on Friday was recorded by the Covid Monitoring Project, though more than 20 states did not provide complete data.
Nicole Van Groningen, a physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told CBS, “We’re really at a tipping point,” “We’re setting records every day in terms of the number of patients we’re providing Covid-19 to.”
“This is a full-fledged Category 10 … It’s literally World War III.” Dr. Nick Kwan, associate medical director of the emergency department at Alhambra Hospital in Los Angeles County, told the LA Times. Patients, he said, “are coming in sicker than you can imagine.”
Leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned earlier this week that “even worse than December.” may be January.
“That’s what we’re concerned about – that we’re going to have an increase on top of that increase, which could make January even worse than December,” he told CNN, adding, “I think we just have to assume it’s going to be worse.”
The grim prediction comes amid vaccine delivery concerns that have caused the U.S. to fall well short of its target of 20 million vaccines by the end of 2020, a setback called “disappointing.” by Fauci.
Leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccination program, said Wednesday that only 2.1 million people were vaccinated, even though more than 14 million doses were distributed.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney questioned the handling of the vaccine rollout by the federal government, claiming it was “inexcusable” that the program was “woefully behind.”
“That comprehensive vaccination plans were not developed at the federal level and sent to the states as a template is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable,” he said.
In Colorado, California and Florida, a new and highly infectious variant of the virus, B117, first discovered in the United Kingdom, has been found.
It could have been in the U.S. since October, and may still be common, according to a reanalysis of more than 2 million studies.
In Washington, in a rare New Year’s Day session in the Senate, Republicans on Friday opposed Donald Trump’s call for a $2,000 stimulus bill for Covid-19.
The Democrats made a last-ditch attempt to pass a House-passed bill that would lift the $600 direct payments to the $2,000 Trump is seeking, already approved by Congress.
Republicans, however, blocked the vote, advocating a more targeted approach.
Together with the first override of his veto of the annual defense spending bill, such a rejection of Trump’s top priorities demonstrated the GOP’s remarkable willingness to challenge its own president.
Instead of the $2,000 they desperately need, Trump hit back on Twitter, calling Republican senators “pathetic!!!” and adding, “Now they want to give $600 to people hit by China virus instead of the $2,000 they so desperately need. That’s not fair, nor is it smart!” He seemed more focused, though, on his battle to contest the presidential election.
When the new Congress is sworn in on Sunday, Democrats vowed to quickly revive the $2,000 check initiative.
Louisiana congressman-elect Luke Letlow, a member of the Republican delegation, died Tuesday at the age of 41 of Covid-19 complications. The chancellor, John Bel Edwards, requested that flags be flown at half-mast to mark Letlow’s funeral on Saturday.