'This will get worse.' A top US official says hospitalizations and deaths will keep climbing as Covid-19 cases explode nationwide
An end to the Covid-19 pandemic may now be in sight with more good news on vaccine candidates, but for now "this will get worse," a top US official said Wednesday.
"We have had one million cases documented over the past week, our rate of rise is higher than it even was in the summer, we have hospitalizations going up 25% week over week," Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, told CNN. "There are so many more cases that we have, that deaths are going up."
美国卫生与公众服务部(Department Of Health And Human Services)卫生部助理部长布雷特·吉罗尔上将(Adm.Brett Giroir)告诉CNN：“过去一周，我们记录了100万个病例，我们的上升速度甚至比夏天还高，住院人数一周比一周增加了25%。”“我们的病例太多了，死亡人数还在上升。”
It is what experts have repeatedly warned in the past weeks, as Covid-19 conditions continue to deteriorate across the country: things will get worse before they get better.
Infection numbers in Massachusetts are eight times what they were on Labor Day and hospitalizations have quadrupled. Only 6% of Oklahoma's ICU beds remain available. In Arkansas, more than 1,000 people could lose their lives in the next five weeks, according to the governor. In Illinois, the virus is now the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
More than 250,000 Americans have so far died of the virus -- a higher death toll than any other country -- and another 188,000 are projected to lose their lives over the next three and a half months, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. By mid-January, the IHME model predicts more than 2,100 Americans could be dying daily.
据华盛顿大学(University Of Washington)健康指标与评估研究所(Institute For Health Metrics And Review)称，目前已有超过25万美国人死于埃博拉病毒，比其他任何国家的死亡人数都高。预计未来三个半月还将有18.8万人死于埃博拉病毒。IHME模型预测，到1月中旬，每天可能有超过2100名美国人死亡。
"As you've heard so many times before, we know how to fix this," Giroir told CNN Wednesday night. "It's all about absolute adherence to wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and yes, we can keep the economy open but we're going to have to diminish indoor places like indoor dining and restaurants."
Next week will be critical
Just how bad things will get will also be determined by what Thanksgiving celebrations look like next week. Health officials and local leaders have warned against traditional holiday gatherings, saying those will likely help further drive the surge of cases.
But Americans can make the holidays a turning point, by masking up and following other safety precautions, the Infectious Diseases Society of America said Wednesday.
"Virtual gatherings remain the safest way to bring friends and family together from distant points. Outdoor settings can reduce the risks of gatherings with people outside of your household," the group said, also highlighting the importance of face coverings.
"We have the resources and the knowledge to stem the spread of this pandemic. Keeping our common cause and shared well-being at the forefront of our holiday celebrations will make a difference."
This year, "separation should be the norm," another expert previously said.
"It is the Covid Thanksgiving," Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, said last week. "We don't want to give the virus while we're giving thanks."
范德比尔特大学(Vanderbilt University)传染病教授威廉·沙夫纳(William Schaffner)博士上周说：“今天是Covid感恩节。”“我们不想在感恩的同时传播病毒。”
New restrictions issued across US
Wisconsin was one of the first states to be hard hit by this round of surges. On Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers announced he was declaring a new state of emergency and extending the state's public health emergency until January.
"It's clear, based on where we're headed, we cannot afford to stop or have a gap in some of the only mitigation efforts we still have in place," he said.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also announced new measures that will go into effect Friday, including limiting social gatherings to a maximum of two people from no more than two households, and prohibiting indoor service for restaurants and bars. And starting Monday, schools should begin remote learning, the governor said.
In Minnesota, the governor said the state is at a "breaking point" and announced a four-week dial back that will "help prevent more families from losing a loved one and ensure our hospitals can treat those who fall ill."
Starting Friday, gatherings that include individuals from more that one household are prohibited, while bars and restaurants will only be allowed to operate takeout and delivery services. Gyms, entertainment venues and event spaces will also close.
"As hospitals near the crisis of turning away new patients, continuing as things are is simply not sustainable," Gov. Tim Walz said. "While these actions mean incredible hardship for many, they are the fastest way to recover our economy, keep our kids in school, and get back to the activities we love."
No 'one-size-fits-all' in vaccine distribution
Meanwhile, more good news on the vaccine front. A final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine shows it was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults and caused no serious safety concerns, the company said Wednesday. It said it will seek a US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization "within days."
Distribution is expected to begin within 24 hours after a vaccine receives the green light, according to Gen. Gustave Perna, who is helping oversee Operation Warp Speed.
据古斯塔夫·佩尔纳将军(Gen.Gustave Perna)说，疫苗收到绿灯后，预计将在24小时内开始分发。佩尔纳将军正在帮助监督翘曲速度行动(Operation Warp Speed)。
"This is incredibly important -- fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine throughout the country simultaneously," Perna said during a Wednesday briefing.
But when it comes to the equitable distribution of the highly anticipated vaccines, "there's no one-size-fits-all" strategy, according to Dr. Jay Butler, the deputy director for infectious diseases at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
但美国疾病控制和预防中心(US Centers For Disease Control And Prevention)传染病副主任杰伊·巴特勒(Jay Butler)博士表示，在人们期待已久的疫苗的公平分配方面，“没有万能的”策略。
In terms of the equity issue, he said he expects that to be addressed at the local level and will differ by community.
"The question that I ask myself every morning when I wake up is 'Are we ready? I think readiness, preparedness is a process," Butler said, "And we're more ready this week than we were last week."
"We'll be more ready next week, and if the vaccine is available, we have to go with what we have. We may not be perfect, but every day we're more prepared than we were the day before," he added.