The United States must act quickly and aggressively to control the current COVID-19 wave, or many more people will die, according to the public health specialists who are advising the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The public health advisors warn in their latest weekly report that new COVID-19 wave is the largest, fastest and longest-waving that they have seen.
- A copy of a state-level version of the White House Coronavirus Task Force weekly report is available here.
- The CDC’s weekly COVID-19 report is available here.
- An earlier article about COVID-19 data is available here.
“This current fall to winter surge continues to spread to every corner of the U.S., from small towns to large cities, from farms to beach communities,” the public health advisors say in the report, which includes a list of recommendations .
Here’s what happened to key national COVID-19 indicators between the week ending Nov. 27 and the week ending Dec. 4:
- New Cases per 100,000 People: 385 (up from 349)
- Percentage of People Tested Who Had COVID-19: 11.5% (up from 9.7%)
- COVID-19 Deaths per 100,000: 4.2 (up from 3.1)
- Nursing Homes With 1 or More New Resident COVID-19 Deaths: 11% (up from 9%)
The public health advisors say many European countries were facing new problems with COVID-19 outbreaks but have done a good job of keeping the outbreaks under control.
In the United States, “despite the severity of this surge and the threat to the hospital systems, many state and local governments are not implementing the same mitigation policies that stemmed the tide of the summer surge,” officials say. “That must happen now.”
State and local governments must focus on promoting “uniform behavioral change,” including wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding indoor gatherings with people who are not immediate members of the household, and using aggressive testing to find people who have severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — the virus that causes COVID-19 — but who have no COVID-19 symptoms, officials say.
Health agencies are preparing to begin a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
“The current vaccine implementation will not substantially reduce viral spread, hospitalizations, or fatalities until the 100 million Americans with comorbidities can be fully immunized, which will take until the late spring,” officials say. “Behavioral change and aggressive mitigation policies are the only widespread prevention tools that we have to address this winter surge.”
The White House task force has not been releasing the public health advisors’ weekly COVID-19 reports. Several states, including Kentucky and Pennsylvania, have started publishing the single-state versions of the reports for their states on the web. At least one nonprofit organization, the Center for Public Integrity, has started to publish the full, 50-state versions of the weekly reports.
— Read U.S. Death Gap Grows: Demographer, on ThinkAdvisor.