With coronavirus cases surging in more than 38 states this week, the nation’s top infectious disease experts are warning that the remaining fall and winter months will be nothing like we’ve seen so far.
“The next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Osterholm acknowledged that while vaccines and treatments were “coming down the pike,” it’s still too early for them to offer adequate and widespread protection this winter.
Epidemiologists across the country are seeing a third wave of the coronavirus as colder temperatures settle in. In Wisconsin, the number of hospitalized COVID patients has more than tripled in the last month alone. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted Sunday that her state is seeing a 101 percent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
In September, the U.S. was averaging 41,859 coronavirus cases and 740 deaths every day. At the time, Osterholm warned of a “very dark fall.”
“Friday, we had 70,000 cases, matching the largest number we had seen back during the really serious peak in July,” Osterholm said Sunday, adding that we’re going to “blow right through” that number in the coming weeks.
“Between now and the holidays, we will see numbers much, much larger than even the 67,000 to 75,000 cases.”
Researchers at the University of Washington say we could be seeing an average of 2300 deaths per day by mid-January.
Experts warn that “COVID fatigue” is partially to blame for the overall spike in cases. We may be “over” this virus, but the virus isn’t over.
As we approach the colder months and flu season, the medical community is begging people everywhere to be vigilant when it comes to hand washing, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing measures.