Yesterday, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to address rising coronavirus transmissions in some Southern and Southwestern states.
“Clearly we are not in total control right now,” Fauci said to the committee. “It is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that. What was thought to be unimaginable turns out to be the reality we’re facing right now. Outbreaks happen, and you have to deal with them in a very aggressive, proactive way.”
Although outbreaks began in America at the same time as several other critically impacted regions, less than 20 countries have more than 100,000 documented cases as of the time of this writing.
Collectively, the US has 2.64M COVID-19 cases and 128,749 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 88,000 health workers in the US have been infected with the respiratory disease and 481 have died.
Unfortunately, countermeasures have been slow to gain momentum in the US. To be fair, COVID-19’s lethality was unknown among medical experts in the early days of our pandemic.
The general consensus among the public: As long as you’re not an unloved old bag, feel free to eat cherries off of bus seats.
After a wider range of vulnerable populations was established by academic systems, backlash mounted in reaction to shelter in place mandates. This inspired unmasked votaries to gather in protest clusters across the country.
The third and hopefully final phase of countermeasure resistance is an amalgamation of controversial and notable pontificators calling for municipalities to ease up on all the testing and contact tracing.
Almost immediately after receiving the green light to continue commercial operations, states like California have decided to reclose bars in affected counties and New Jersey announced this week that it would not reopen indoor dining as initially planned.
With a heated primary, mass unemployment, and a high-stakes general election in the balance, it’s hard to ignore the ripple effect continued shutdowns will have on the economy. However, the reality of the situation is less charitable. Shutdown easing has shown promise, but an updated risk assessment is in order. Virologists agree that if our behavior doesn’t change, massive COVID-19 spikes are pretty much inevitable come Fall. Medical facilities simply cannot endure a dramatic jump in new cases per day.
More discreetly, Fauci hypothesizes the daily count could soar to 100,000 new cases a day within about three to six weeks. Sadly, he’s not alone in this assessment.
“This country has to come to grips with: What is it that we’re willing to accept?” said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy. “And I think if we leave it up to every governor, I think that is short-sighted. We need a national consensus of what are we trying to do. And then each state can … tailor it to what fits them. But right now, we don’t have a national consensus.”