US hits over 100M Covid-19 cases in holiday season

Jeffrey D. Allred

The United States has officially recorded more than 100 million Covid-19 cases amid another surge in the holiday season, according to the latest data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The United States is the first country to have recorded 100 million Covid-19 cases around the world.

The country totaled 100,216,983 confirmed cases as of Dec. 21, according to CDC data posted on Wednesday.

Experts said the actual number is much higher as people testing at home do not relay their results to public health departments and many people do not do tests anymore.

Tom Frieden, former CDC director under the Obama administration, estimates that the reported data reflects less than half of the actual total.

There are at least 200 million infections in the United States, “so this is a small portion of them,” Frieden told CNBC.

“The question really is will we be better prepared for Covid and other health threats going forward, and the jury is very much still out on that.”

“It’s really hard to stop this virus, and that’s one of the reasons why we’ve shifted the focus to hospitalizations and deaths and not just counting cases,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and director of the Pandemic Center at the Brown University School of Public Health.

More than 1.08 million people in the United States have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, more than any other country in the world, according to CDC data.

The country is currently averaging about 65,000 cases, 5,000 hospitalizations, and 390 deaths each day, CDC data showed.

In the midst of the holiday season, Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States have increased in recent weeks.

More than 44 percent of US counties are experiencing medium to high Covid-19 community transmission levels, according to the CDC.

“We’re still in the middle of this — it is not over,” said White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is stepping down this month.

“Four hundred deaths per day is not an acceptable level. We want to get it much lower than that,” Fauci said.

At the same time, this cold and flu season has added risks.

The trio of Covid-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is continuing to stress the country’s healthcare system, resulting in decreased hospital capacity and staffing shortages.

Public health experts said the United States could face even more respiratory infections in January.

It is “highly likely” that respiratory viruses could spread even more following holiday gatherings and New Year’s Eve celebrations, said William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“These are highly contagious viruses — and people have generally put Covid-19 and Covid vaccination behind them. They haven’t been all that attentive to flu. They’re not wearing masks,” Schaffner told CNN.

“And if you’re close together with other people, it’s an opportunity for all three of these viruses — flu, Covid, and even RSV — to spread from one person to another. So, we do expect a post-holiday surge in these viruses,” he said.

Source : Xinhua