• Each day’s coronavirus update for the US seems to set a frightening new record, with the latest 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the US topping 131,4000 as of Thursday.
  • One of the key things driving the explosion in new cases right now is peoples’ behavior, which is leading many to congregate in small group settings at home. Perhaps with other family members, especially with the holidays at hand.
  • This is why health experts are, sadly, predicting an acute spike in the number of deaths from coronavirus over the next two months or so.

The message that public health experts have been sharing lately about the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in the US is as follows: It can be summed up, quite succinctly, as “It’s getting really bad out there.” For an indication of just how much the pandemic is worsening, one of the nation’s indispensable journalists covering the health crisis, Ed Young, has a new piece online that he wrote for The Atlantic which provides one of the most sobering end-of-2020 coronavirus updates yet. In Utah, to cite just one of the examples he lays out, the state is reporting around 2,500 confirmed coronavirus cases a day right now — up about 4 times from its peak over the summer. University of Utah Hospital pulmonary specialist Nathan Hatton says his ICU has about twice as many patients as normal right now, and his shifts last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, though they can sometimes go as long as 36 hours.

“There are times I’ll come in in the morning, see patients, work that night, work all the next day, and then go home,” Hatton says in Young’s piece. How many shifts like this does he have to do? “Too many.”


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Here’s why: Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the 7-day average of daily new COVID-19 cases in the US topped 131,4000 on Thursday. According to CNBC’s analysis, that’s a 32% uptick compared to the same period a week earlier.

In a new interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed what’s behind this worse-than-ever explosion in new cases. What’s so infuriating about Dr. Fauci’s comments is that the latest COVID-19 surge is absolutely not inevitable. It does not have to be occurring right now, and is only happening because of people’s dumb mistakes and behaviors.

“I connect with people in the different cities throughout the country, (and) they are seeing now infections less in the big gatherings than in family gatherings, friends getting together, eight to 10 people for dinner, in a social gathering in which they feel well,” Fauci explained.

He added that these are the kinds of settings where people feel like: “‘We know everybody here. We may not need to wear a mask … we may not need to get tested.’ We need to know about the asymptomatic spread. It’s important. We cannot deny it. There are people out there innocently and unwittingly who are infected, don’t have any symptoms or infecting others. So much more widespread testing of asymptomatic individuals is going to be very important as we enter and go into these months of indoor type gatherings.”

Here’s an example of why people need to take these comments so seriously. Fifty-five people recently attended an August 7 wedding reception in Maine, according to news reports, at which one person was in attendance who was infected with coronavirus. A little over a month later, that infection had spread to 176 people, and seven of them died.

A successful coronavirus vaccine is close at hand, which is why Dr. Fauci keeps repeating a variant of the same message that he barely ever changes up. Avoid crowds, and be especially vigilant — such as during the holidays, by not having a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas gathering as if everything is fine and normal. Socially distance, wear a face mask, and stay outdoors more than indoors as much as possible.

“I was talking with my UK colleagues who are saying the UK is similar to where we are now, because each of our countries have that independent spirit,” Fauci said during a recent panel discussion in Washington DC, per CNBC. “I can understand that, but now is the time to do what you’re told.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.