The U.S. surpassed a grim milestone last month with a record of more than four 4 million positive coronavirus cases. The total was more than double the previous record of 1.9 million cases in October.
As the weather across the country gets colder, and more Americans find themselves spending time indoors, the transmission of the COVID-19 virus has accelerated.
Further, the Thanksgiving holidays saw more than 2 million Americans traveling by air, which is likely to contribute to a continuing rise in positive case counts.
According to The New York Times, more than 170,000 Americans test positive for the novel coronavirus every day. America’s 13 million infections constitute the world’s largest outbreak of COVID-19.
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Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also reached a new daily record of 91,635, and more than 268,000 people in America have died from it.
Public health experts assert that local officials should continue to discourage group gatherings and limit prolonged indoor activities, which contribute to the highest transmission rates.
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“There has to be a combination of individual members of the public making different decisions and policymakers restricting the activities or settings with highest transmission risk, like restaurants and bars, where people are sitting close for prolonged periods without masks,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has recommended face coverings even during small family gatherings, like holiday events.
“If you do the things that are simple public health measures, that soaring will level and start to come down,” Fauci last week on CBS This Morning. “You add that to the help of a vaccine, we can turn this around. It is not futile.”
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There are three vaccines set to be approved by the FDA in the coming weeks. However, reports indicate a tentative plan is to initially prioritize getting a vaccine to first-responders and vulnerable populations like nursing-home residents.
A large-scale vaccine distribution plan has not been announced by President Donald Trump‘s administration.
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