A top federal health official issued a dire warning last week about what may be to come in the battle against the coronavirus: Follow recommended coronavirus prevention measures or risk having the worst fall in U.S. public health history.
“For your country right now and for the war that we’re in against Covid, I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I’m not asking some of America to do it,” he told WebMD. “We all gotta do it.”
Without following the recommendations, this could be “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,” he said.
Coronavirus has infected more than five million people and killed over 166,000 nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. And the numbers keep going up.
“You can’t run away from the numbers,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Diseases, said during a National Geographic panel last week. “You can’t run away from the numbers of people who’ve died, the number of people getting hospitalized, the surges we’re seeing.”
SPREADING IN MIDWEST, SOUTH AND WEST
Coronavirus continues to spread at high rates across the South, Midwest and West – even as the total number of new cases has declined following a summer surge.
Adjusting for population, states in the Southeast are seeing the most new cases. Georgia and Florida – states led by Republican governors who have not issued face mask requirements – had highest per capita new cases last week, followed by Alabama and Mississippi.
And deaths from the virus have remained high.
“How long we’re going to have to be doing this depends totally on us,” Fauci said. “If we keep running away from the reality of the need to do it, it could linger on and linger on.”
There are 270 active trials for coronavirus treatments currently under way and health officials predict one or more vaccines will be ready by the start of 2021.
But anti-vaxxers have taken to social media to spread lies about a coronavirus vaccine before one has even been approved.
Some include claims it contains monkey brains or that it’s a CIA plot to take over the world. Others allege the vaccine will include an invisible trackable tattoo or it will disfigure those who take it.
Dr. Tina Hartert of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center said it’s important for the government to get ahead of the online rumor mill, as lack of faith in a vaccine could lead to major new outbreaks.
(Information from CNN Health.)