COVID-19 cases have shown a steep rise in the United States in November and the situation is expected to worsen due to the winter season.
Though President Trump has repeatedly asserted that the United States is ‘rounding the turn’ on the COVID-19 infection rate, the government has made little effort to contain the virus. Health experts have cautioned that the new daily cases may double soon. Top Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the government is unprepared and unwilling to make tough choices. He further said, “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
The US is one of the worst-hit countries by rising COVID-19 infections and deaths in the world. The country had crossed 1 million new confirmed Coronavirus cases in just the first ten days of November, with several states recording the highest number of new cases. The US is the first and only country to achieve the grim milestone of 10 million coronavirus cases.
Experts have repeatedly warned that COVID-19 outbreaks could worsen in winter. Dylan Morris, a mathematical biologist at Princeton University told Nature, a weekly science journal: "Laboratory experiments reveal that SARS-CoV-2 favors cold, dry conditions, particularly out of direct sunlight. For instance, artificial ultraviolet radiation can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 particles on surfaces and in aerosols, especially in temperatures of around 40 °C. Infectious virus also degrades faster on surfaces in warmer and more humid environments. In winter, people tend to heat their houses to around 20 °C, and the air is dry and not well ventilated. Indoor conditions in the winter are pretty favorable to viral stability.”
As temperatures fall across the US, more and more people are expected to stay indoors, and given that the chances of infection are higher in enclosed spaces especially poorly-ventilated ones, it is being feared that the situation of the pandemic will worsen in winter. Dr. Vivek Murthy, former US surgeon general, who co-chairs the COVID-19 advisory board of President-elect Joe Biden said in an interview: "What's happening now, in particular, is that with winter, as people move indoors, this is actually the perfect set up for the virus because we know it's easier to spread indoors than outdoors."
Researchers at the University of Washington's (UW) Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated in Oct 2020 that approximately 500,000 people in the US could die from coronavirus by the end of February 2021. The model was based on three different scenarios that incorporated the potential impact of policies and people's behavior on outcomes. The worst-case scenario stipulated nearly 483,000 cumulative deaths by Feb. 1 in the absence of social distancing mandates and the best case scenario which assumes reimposition of mandates and a renewed awareness among the public about the importance of wearing masks when deaths reach a certain level per capita, predicted 315,000 cumulative deaths.
Public health officials believe the federal government has not done enough as states struggle due to an unprecedented spike in hospital use and growing demand for staff. The governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, has warned of a “dire situation” in hospitals if circumstances are not brought under control at the earliest.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.