WASHINGTON: As millions of travellers head home after the Thanksgiving holiday, top US scientist Anthony Fauci cautioned on Sunday, Americans should brace for a “surge upon a surge” in coronavirus events.
With 266,074 Covid-19 fatalities, the United States is the worst-affected country, and the administration of President Donald Trump has given contradictory statements on mask-wearing, travel, and whether the epidemic is under control.
Because of what has happened with the flight, there will almost definitely be an improvement,” Fauci told CNN’s “State of the Union” as the long weekend of Thanksgiving ended.”
In two to three weeks, he said, “we may see a surge upon a surge.” “We don’t want people to get scared, but that’s the reality.”
European countries struggling to reopen before Christmas
With the Christmas holidays soon bringing more travel and family meetings, the pattern is ominous, Fauci and other government scientists said.
After a holiday weekend in May, Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, noted a spike in Covid-19.
“We are now entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four and 10 times as many diseases across the nation,” she told CBS ‘”Face the Nation.” “We are deeply worried.” Jerome Adams, the general surgeon of the United States, was similarly frank. “He told Fox News Sunday, “I want to be straight with the American people.” “It’s going to get worse over the next several weeks.”
Elsewhere, thousands of health professionals marched in Madrid to support Spain’s public health sector, one of the countries most impacted by the pandemic in Europe.
And guards opened fire in Sri Lanka to quell a prison riot, killing four prisoners while protesting an increase in coronavirus infections.
In France, in the face of furious protests from church officials, the top administrative court ordered the government to relax laws authorising no more than 30 people to attend worship services.
According to the Chinese media, some 9,000 athletes, some wearing face masks, took part in the Shanghai International Marathon, a remarkable sporting festival for mass participation.
On Sunday, the US news media announced that the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19, one of the first to demand high efficacy, along with a Moderna product, arrived from a Pfizer laboratory in Belgium in the United States.
If it obtained US clearance, planned as early as December 10, the Wall Street Journal and other media reported, Pfizer used charter flights to pre-position the vaccine for rapid delivery.
After months of grim headlines, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations, both claimed to be safe and maybe 95 percent successful, have brought a much-needed glimmer of hope.
This will bring an end to this pandemic. This is the way the pandemic will get us out of it. Admiral Brett Giroir, the US official overseeing coronavirus monitoring, told CNN that the light was at the end of the tunnel.
But he shared, like Fauci and the other scientists, deep doubts about the months directly ahead.
Approximately 20 percent of all Covid hospital individuals have Covid, so this is a very dangerous moment, Giroir said.
Until sufficient numbers of Americans have been vaccinated, Giroir said half of the eligible population could still rely on individuals taking precautions, including mask-wearing and distancing, he and Fauci said by March.
Giroir said for most Americans to be vaccinated, it could take until the second or third quarter of next year, but that major benefits will accrue even earlier.
“He said, “We can absolutely get 80 percent of the value of the vaccination by just immunising a few percent of the population by first vaccinating those at greatest risk.” Adams also injected a note of cautious optimism, saying, “We are only weeks away from continuing to vaccinate the vulnerable, and we can protect individuals who are at risk for this virus substantially.Americans
“So hang on just a little longer.” Since the epidemic in China last December, the novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,453,074 people worldwide, according to a count gathered on Sunday from official reports.
Europe passed a bleak milestone on Saturday, reporting 400,649 deaths.
Once a ray of hope in Europe’s coronavirus nightmare, Germany reported more than a million cases on Friday, but Belgium and Ireland announced some relaxation of the restrictions.