So far, this week has been an imperfect mixture of good and bad news on the COVID front: we’ve got two promising vaccines on the horizon and two major holidays before either reaches the general public. All of these events have the potential to drastically alter the narrative.
Now, there really isn’t a way to force Americans to adhere to social distancing mandates established by health officials, and the country is more than overwhelmed by grim data and political wish casting.
The only reality more anxiety-inducing than our oppressive news cycle is another round of stay-at-home orders. As of the time of this writing, the Biden administration has not expressed interest in a national lockdown but there are measures we can take to keep this outcome at bay.
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), spoke candidly to CNN about the prospects of commercial restrictions in the US.
Coronavirus outbreaks have been appearing disproportionately across the country. In response, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti recently implemented a “Safer at Home Order,” that prohibits dining out and in-person learning while allowing some retail establishments to remain open so long as they maintain a capacity limit below 20% and close before 10 p.m.
“I have been in discussion with the health authorities in the state of California,” Fauci told CNN.”When you reach a certain critical point of the flexibility of hospital beds, and you see more cases of COVID coming in, you could have a real challenge—and maybe even a crisis—with regard to beds and personnel to take care of the people in those beds.”
Experts are looking to mistakes made during the Thanksgiving holiday to draft more effective interventions ahead of Christmas, even as more relevant statistics are still coming in.
“The blip from Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet,” Fauci continued. “So we’re getting those staggering numbers of new cases and hospitalizations before we even feel the full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday,”
The US just recorded its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a week, and hospitalizations are increasing rapidly.
Some experts contend that in-person holiday celebrations should have a limit of 10 people at the most, but Fauci believes this number is too high.
“It’s not only the number,” he continued. “It’s the people who might be coming in from out of town. You want to make sure you don’t have people who just got off a plane or a train. That’s even riskier than the absolute number. You get indoors, you take your mask off because you’re eating and drinking, and you don’t realize that there may be somebody that you know, that you love, who is perfectly well with no symptoms, and yet, they got infected [unknowingly].”
In addition to keeping holiday parties as small as possible, the infectious disease expert recommends avoiding planes, bars, and restaurants while surges are still ravaging the US.
If you have to drive passengers, remember to keep all the windows down, and to avoid turning on your heater and central air.