The nation’s one-day toll of reported coronavirus deaths surpassed 3,000 for the first time Thursday, a number perhaps inflated by fatalities reported late due to the Thanksgiving holiday but still reflective of a pandemic racing out of control.
The death toll reported in the last two days alone was 5,744. And hospitalizations surpassed 100,000 for the first time Wednesday. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted the U.S. could reach 450,000 deaths by February.
“The reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times, and I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of our nation, largely because of the stress it’s going to put on our public health system,” Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 13.9 million cases and over 273,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 64.4 million cases and 1.49 million deaths.
📰 What we’re reading: Will there be side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine? When can you get it? We answer your vaccine questions.
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A Staten Island bar was shut down and the manager hauled away in handcuffs for skirting New York’s virus restrictions and continuing to serve alcohol indoors. Mac’s Public House has signs in its windows claiming to be an “autonomous zone.” Owner Keith McAlarney says the pandemic shutdown was killing his business. He said he was not selling food and drink inside the bar, he was giving it away and asking for donations. Not good enough, authorities said.
“This owner is learning that actions have consequences,” Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, told The New York Times. “Breaking the law and putting your neighbors’ lives at risk during a global pandemic to make a political statement is simply unacceptable.”
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are volunteering to get inoculated on camera once Covid-19 vaccines win FDA approval. The three most recent former presidents hope an awareness campaign would be a powerful message as American public health officials try to convince the public to take the vaccine, CNN reports. Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, said the 43rd President had reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci – the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert – and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
“First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations,” Ford told CNN. “Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.”
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients nationwide passed the 100,000 mark for the first time Wednesday, an alarming statistic fueling enormous strain on the health care system and its brave but beleaguered workers. Some experts said the total, compiled by the COVID Tracking Project and at 100,226 Wednesday night, could soon double. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, said the country has reached a “dangerous inflection point.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we stand at 200,000 people hospitalized in the next month,” Glatter told USA TODAY. “Explosive growth of the virus has the potential to overrun our ability to provide care. Not only for patients with COVID-19 but also for basic medical conditions.”
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered public health officials in the nation’s largest county to provide evidence of high-risk COVID-19 transmission that justifies the outdoor dining ban imposed last week as cases surge statewide.
The California Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit challenging the ban and requested a judge to halt the order, but Judge James Chalfant refused to without first seeing scientific evidence from Los Angeles County public health officials, the Los Angeles Times reported. County officials are expected to present evidence at a scheduled hearing on Dec. 8.
“As we’ve repeatedly said, their order was arbitrary and targeted restaurants unfairly, without supporting evidence,” CRA president Jot Condie said in a statement on Twitter. The outdoor dining ban went into effect Nov. 25 and is expected to last three weeks, as well as a stay-at-home order that began Nov. 30. The judge’s order comes California reported a new record of more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, two days after Gov. Gavin Newsom warned of a…