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American coronavirus: United States approaching 8 million Covid-19 cases, pace of new infections signals difficult winter

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Dr Peter Hotez, professor and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, called the rising average “a worrying sign.”

“This is the time when we could enter one of the worst periods of our epidemic and one of our worst periods in modern American public health,” he said Thursday. “I am very worried about the nation.”

Public health officials, including Dr Anthony Fauci, have warned in recent months that the country should try to lower its baseline before the fall and winter months, to prepare for the new challenges that will arise. . These include the flu season, which could compare to Covid-19 and create what doctors call a “twin-demic,” as well as the upcoming holidays, where many Americans can let their guard down to celebrate with their family and friends.

States in the United States are now reporting an increase in test positivity, which has “proven in the past to be a very good prediction of an increase in cases, which ultimately leads to an increase in hospitalizations, and ultimately, in some individuals that is obviously going to be an increase in deaths, ”Fauci said Thursday on“ Good Morning America ”.

An updated forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now predicts the United States could exceed 389,000 Covid-19-related deaths by February 1. And the latest ensemble prediction released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 20,000 Americans could die from the virus within the next three weeks. More than 217,000 Americans have already lost their lives to the virus.

‘The virus is winning now’

At least 35 states are now reporting more new cases than the week before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Fourteen states – Alaska, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming – have reached their seven-day case average, according to data .

Meanwhile, in Arkansas and Michigan, health officials have reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases per day. In New Hampshire, state epidemiologist Dr Benjamin Chan said the state saw a 56% increase in its number of active Covid-19 cases over the past week.

The governor of New Mexico told a news conference Thursday that the state had 8.1% positivity and called the current state of the pandemic “the most serious emergency facing New Mexico. -Mexico has never been confronted “.

It comes just days after issuing new restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus – including a limit on mass gatherings and a 10 p.m. closing time for establishments serving alcohol.

“The virus is winning now,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “We are in unknown waters.”

In some parts of the state, intensive care beds are “full,” according to New Mexico Secretary of Health and Human Services David Scrase.

“This is a serious time for the state of New Mexico,” said Scrase, adding that the state’s curve for seven-day average daily cases “eclipsed previous curves.”

Masks could save 70,000 lives

It doesn’t have to be that way. Experts have repeatedly said that doubling down on simple safety measures, including masks, social distancing and hand washing, can slow the transmission of the virus and reduce the number of cases.

Wearing a universal mask could save the lives of more than 70,000 Americans over the next three-and-a-half months, according to IHME projections. And as cooler weather approaches, experts say, there are ways to see friends and family while staying. sure.

Global Study Finds Remdesivir Does Not Help Covid-19 Patients

Meanwhile, World Health Organization officials announced on Thursday that remdesivir, an antiviral drug, had “little or no effect on the mortality” of patients hospitalized for Covid-19.

The agency says this is “conclusive evidence” about the drug – and the results are disappointing.

So far, remdesivir was the only drug that appeared to have specific effects on Covid-19 and the only drug with emergency use authorization specifically for the virus from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Before the WHO study, a large controlled study of remdesivir in the United States found that it shortens recovery time by about a third in critically ill and hospitalized adults with Covid-19, but does not does little to help milder cases.

Gilead Sciences, the drug’s maker, said the results did not mean the drug had no benefit.

“The emerging data appear inconsistent with the stronger evidence from several randomized controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of Veklury (remdesivir),” Gilead said in a statement. “We are concerned that the data from this open, global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion.

CNN’s Amanda Watts, John Bonifield, Raja Razek and Ben Tinker contributed to this report.

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