Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020

Biden's coronavirus adviser recommends TOTAL US lockdown for up to six weeks as daily infections hit record 145k

JOE Biden’s coronavirus adviser has backed a nationwide six-week lockdown to tackle the wildfire spread of the disease – as the daily infection rate reached a harrowing new record of more than 145,000. 

Dr Michael Osterholm, an adviser to the president-elect, said on Wednesday that the United States is headed toward “Covid hell.”


Dr Osterholm, the director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota said while shutting down businesses and paying people for four to six weeks could help control the widespread deadly virus.

Osterholm told Yahoo Finance that he believes that a total lockdown of the country would eventually help get the economy on track until a vaccine is ready and distributed. 

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments.

"We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four to six weeks.”

Dr Osterhold said a lockdown would help get Covid under control, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”

“We could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that."

He acknowledged that people are tired of wearing masks, socially distancing from one another, and from “pandemic fatigue.”

On Wednesday, 145,835 – a record-setting number of coronavirus cases – were reported in the country, the Washington Post reported.

More than 10.7million people in the United States have been infected since the virus spread to the west earlier this year.

Over 247,000 virus-related deaths have also been reported. 

On Tuesday, 61,964 people were hospitalized due to Covid – an all-time high number as the virus spikes across the country.

Within the first 10 days of November alone, over one million new cases of the deadly disease were reported.

The alarming wave of cases seems to be more widespread than the first outbreak in the US earlier this year.

However, despite the surging infection rate, experts believe the nation may be better equipped to deal with the virus this time around.

When it comes to combating Covid “we’re definitely in a better place,” William Hanage, a Harvard infectious-disease researcher said.

In total, the US has reported more than 10.5million Covid cases and over 245,000 virus-related deaths.

On Monday, several states reported new records – including more than 12,000 cases in Illinois, 7,000 in Wisconsin, and 6,500 in Ohio.

Coronavirus-related deaths have reached an average of more than 930 per day.

At this point – months into the pandemic – doctors know how to treat severe cases more effectively.

A higher number of Covid patients who enter intensive care units come out alive, and patients have new treatments – like remdesivir – to help them.

Across the country, testing is more widely available and accessible.

On Monday, Pfizer announced that their Covid vaccine was looking to be 90 percent effective based on early test results.

The company is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

However, authorities have stressed that it's unlikely a vaccine will be rolled out before the end of the year and the limited initial supplies will be rationed.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bars, gyms, and restaurants would have to close at 10pm beginning on Friday to try to stop a surge in the state, which was the initial epicenter in the US. 

In Texas, coronavirus cases have exceeded one million. 

"These are dark times," Ogechika Alozie, chief medical officer at El Paso’s Del Sol Medical Center, told CNN on Wednesday.

"I think the biggest word is just fatigue. And there's frustration."

On Monday, Biden again pleaded for Americans to wear face coverings, saying that "a mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start putting the country together."

He has pledged to tackle the health crisis from day one of his administration, which begins on January 20.

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