The recent spread of COVID-19 has put the U.S. in a “very difficult” place, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, on Monday, singling out one state’s healthcare system as being particularly stressed. Last week, the country reached a new high for COVID-19 deaths (more than 4,000 a day) and total daily hospitalizations (more than 132,000). Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 22.5 million Americans have tested positive for COVID, and more than 375,000 have died. “We’re in a very difficult situation right now,” said Fauci during an interview with RFDTV. “Because if you look at the number of cases per day, the baseline of anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 cases per day is extraordinarily high.” Read on for his warning—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
“California is having a terrible time,” says Fauci
“That’s leading to record numbers of hospitalizations with some hospital systems,” said Fauci of the surge. “I know California is having a terrible time, almost being overrun, where you have places where there are 25 ICU beds, intensive care unit beds, and you might have 50 patients requiring intensive care. So there’s a stress on the system, and certainly on the personnel … they’re getting worn out.”
KTLA-5 reported on Monday that California just experienced its deadliest weekend of the pandemic and that hospitals were “stretched to the limit.” Officials in Los Angeles County have urged residents to wear a face mask even at home if they live with someone who is elderly or at high risk for COVID complications. Disneyland will host a mass vaccination center. The state had nearly 40,000 new cases Monday. The numbers are “just a sober reminder of the deadliness of the disease, how deadly this pandemic remains,” California Gov Gavin Newsom said.
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“Exponential” rise in cases
This month’s rise in cases has been nearly “exponential” nationwide, said Fauci. “It’s a tough situation,” he added. “We’re having now more than 4,000 deaths per day. This is historic. We are in a very bad way right now. The only way we’re going to get out of it, as we make a link to the vaccines, is by doubling down on our adherence to public health measures, which is the uniform wearing of masks, the avoiding congregate settings in crowds, particularly indoors, keeping physical distance, washing your hands as frequently as you can.”
The CDC says that as of Jan. 11, 25.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed, and nearly 8.9 million people have received the first dose. That’s significantly behind the Trump administration’s original goal of having 20 million people vaccinated by Jan. 1.
How to survive this pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.