CDC director warns the next few months could be ‘the most difficult in the public health history of this nation’

CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, testifies throughout a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee listening to to look at Covid-19, specializing in an replace on the federal response in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2020.

Alex Edelman | AFP | Getty Images

The next few months of the Covid-19 pandemic will be amongst “the most difficult in the public health history of this nation,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated Wednesday.

Redfield, talking at an occasion hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stated that about 90% of hospitals in the nation are in “hot zones and the red zones.” He added that 90% of long-term care amenities are in areas with excessive degree of unfold.

“So we are at a very critical time right now about being able to maintain the resilience of our health-care system,” Redfield stated. “The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health-care system.”

Redfield added that deaths attributable to Covid-19 are already rising. He stated the nation is now in the vary of reporting between 1,500 and a pair of,500 deaths on a regular basis.

The U.S. reported greater than 1,500 deaths on Tuesday, in line with information compiled by Johns Hopkins University. And Covid-19 hospitalizations stand at an all-time excessive 98,600 throughout the nation, in line with information from the Covid Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. Epidemiologists, emergency room physicians and public health specialists have warned for weeks that the newest surge of the virus could show to be the deadliest but.

“The mortality concerns are real,” Redfield stated. “And I do think unfortunately, before we see February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans [who] have died from this virus.”

However, Redfield famous that the nation has the instruments it wants to cut back the severity of the outbreak. He advocated for the strategic closure of sure components of society, similar to indoor bars and eating places. Redfield stated he was “disappointed” when New York City briefly closed all of its public faculties final month, including that they don’t seem to drive unfold of the virus.

He additionally pointed to school and school campuses, the place he stated outbreaks have been largely prevented by the strategic deployment of surveillance testing mixed with an infection prevention measures like masks carrying.

“I used to think that the most difficult group that we were going to have to help contain this was basically college students,” Redfield stated. “But what happened over the summer and the fall, is many of the colleges and universities really stepped up to developing comprehensive mitigation steps.”

One issue that makes this virus so harmful, Redfield stated, is that it spreads largely by individuals who do not have signs, or spreads earlier than sufferers develop signs. That makes it difficult to regulate what he referred to as “the silent epidemic” with out testing broadly all through the inhabitants, together with individuals with out signs however who may need been uncovered to the virus. The CDC is engaged on steering for establishments and workplaces that can assist them strategically deploy testing, he stated.

Another brilliant spot, Redfield stated, is that promising vaccines are on the means, however mitigation measures will nonetheless be needed nicely into next yr. He predicted that the nation will not be capable of return to holding giant gatherings till the fall of 2021.

There are many classes to be realized from the pandemic, Redfield stated, including that “I wasn’t prepared to understand how little investment had been made in the core capabilities of public health.”

He stated there was insufficient funding in the public health labs round the nation that course of many diagnostic checks and in the digitization of public health data, which hindered the federal authorities’s response to the pandemic.

“There’s a huge lack of investment, which I hope this pandemic will change,” he stated. Redfield estimated the health disaster has price the U.S. at the very least $eight trillion.

“Probably one of our greatest casualties of the pandemic this year was the impact on the business community, and on just general health care, the impact on our children’s education.”

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