Victoria records eighth day of no new cases, awaits Sunday decisions; United States continues record case numbers; Australia’s death toll remains at 9077th November 2020
“It is community-spread everywhere,” said Jaline Gerardin, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
In part, the greater numbers are the result of the increased availability of testing, she said.
But the main problem was allowing the virus to simmer at fairly high levels throughout the summer, particularly among young people who congregated in bars and restaurants against expert advice.
“I think it ended up busting out of their own age group,” she said.
“It spread out from there, and what we’re seeing now is it’s in every age group . . . It’s just everywhere.”
The current case totals are an echo of late March, when according to epidemiologist Ali Mokdad, the first surge probably peaked at more than 283,000 cases per day.
But there was no way to know at the time, because the US testing regime was so inadequate, said Mokdad, chief strategy officer of population health for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
With those limitations, the United States did not record its 120,000th infection overall until March 28, more than two months after the first case was identified in Snohomish County, Wash., records show.
On Friday, the nation registered more cases than that in a single day.
To date, the virus has killed nearly 236,000 people in the United States and infected more than 9.7 million, according to data analysed by The Washington Post.
Friday’s alarming case load may soon seem quaint. Without a coordinated national strategy for containing the virus, Mokdad’s institute is forecasting more than 305,000 cases a day by December 31 and more than 686,000 a day if all restrictions are relaxed.
Universal mask-wearing and other steps could bring that down to 172,000, the models show.
At current infection rates, there is only a short time left to prevent overwhelming the nation’s hospital system, Mokdad said.
That will require a national mask mandate, or some way of forcing states to adopt mandatory mask-wearing, and a coordinated plan to move staff and patients from hospitals with capacity to others that lack it, if necessary, he said.
The Washington Post