Ominous Surge Spells ‘Dark Winter’ for US

The US logged its 7th straight day of 100,000+ new COVID-19 cases yesterday—setting the stage for massive increase by the holiday season, Michael Osterholm told CNN.

“It will not surprise me if in the next weeks we see over 200,000 new cases a day,” said Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a member of President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 transition team.

Hospitalizations are rising accordingly—hitting a record 62,000 nationwideyesterday, The Guardian reports.

While Biden warns of a “very dark winter,” Alex Azar, HHS secretary, has tempered hopes of a rapid rollout of Pfizer’s vaccine.

Assuming no unexpected hitches, the most vulnerable US citizens could be vaccinated by late December, health workers and first responders by late January, while the broader population could start seeing access in early spring.

Around the country, hospitals and funeral homes are showing signs of distress:

  • North Dakota hospitals, at 100% capacity, announced that COVID-positive nurses can stay at work. Grand Forks Herald
  • In Texas (the state with 10%+ of all US cases), El Paso officials are bringing in 10 refrigerated morgue trailers to help cope with surging cases. Reuters
  • The virus is spreading rapidly in Maine, which has the US’s highest COVID-19 reproduction rate over the last 2 weeks; and Calais Regional Hospital nurses and lab workers called a 2-day strike over dangerous working conditions. Portland Press Herald
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