As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, hospitalizations and deaths related to the virus do too. On Saturday, an emergency physician predicts a spike in coronavirus cases after the Thanksgiving holiday, which will add to the already stressed health care system.
According to CNN, Dr. James Phillips, the chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, spoke with CNN’s Erica Hill to address his “terrified” concerns about America’s fate following the holiday season.
“We’re going to see an unprecedented surge of cases following Thanksgiving this year, and if people don’t learn from Thanksgiving, we’re going to see it after Christmas as well,” Phillips said.
Phillips prediction only adds a grimmer view to the already grim indicators that give us a peek of what we are facing. More than a week ago, the U.S. reached a 6-digit number for new coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic. On Friday, that number was 184,000 confirmed new cases.
Hospitals are also beating records—for the fourth consecutive day—reporting over 68,500 COVID-19 cases across the nation, the COVID Tracking Project reported. The daily death toll also topped 1,300 three times last week.
“Things are going to get much, much worse,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. “We have this firestorm of coronavirus all across the country,” Wen said. “It’s not one or two hotspots, the entire country is a hotspot of coronavirus infection.”
On Friday, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said how people act over the coming weeks will have a “profound impact.”
“This is a grim day for the country because we’re seeing cases skyrocketing, we’re seeing hospitals fill up, and we’re also seeing the death toll march up,” Murthy, who is now co-chair of President-elect Joe Biden’s Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board, added. “We’re at a point now, even pre-Thanksgiving, where we are surging beyond any level that we have seen over the last eight months.”
“If you’re thinking about going home for Thanksgiving, ask yourself if you can observe these kinds of precautionary practices, because if you can’t, then you may be putting yourself and others at risk,” he said while urging people to wear masks, social distance, and wash hands regularly.