US facing ‘distressing’ phase in pandemic – CDC

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WASHINGTON – The United States is facing an extremely alarming trend in its battle with COVID-19 as cases multiply across most of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing a distressing trend here in the United States with COVID-19 cases increasing in nearly 75 per cent of the country,” Jay Butler, the health body’s number two infectious disease expert, warned during a news briefing.

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The US has recorded about 50,000 new daily cases in the past week, as well as 700 deaths, according to CDC data.

Butler said the increases are taking part across US, but particularly in the midwest, attributing part of the uptick to people wanting to move in-doors as temperatures drop and as small family and neighbourhood gatherings increase with Americans living with the pandemic for more than half-a-year.

“I recognise that we are all getting tired of the impact that COVID-19 has had on our lives. We get tired of wearing masks, but it continues to be as important as it’s ever been, and I would say it is more important than ever as we move into the Fall season,” he said.

Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN that as the nation faces COVID restriction fatigue “it’s pretty clear that this fall/winter surge is now finally arriving.”

“This is going to be a horrible winter, unfortunately,” he said.

The US continues to be the nation with the highest number of novel coronavirus cases and related deaths.

In all, the US has more than 8.3 million confirmed infections as well as over 221,000 fatalities.

Asked about the planned timeline for the US’ vaccine distribution, Alex Azar, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the initial rollout for those most vulnerable individuals would likely begin by the end of the year.

The US is currently mass producing six vaccine candidates in anticipation that at least one will receive final health approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and is planning to have enough available to begin vaccinating all seniors, health care workers and first responders by the end of January.

By the end of March, or beginning of April, the US is planning to have enough of the vaccine or vaccines available for all Americans that want to take it, said Azar.

— BERNAMA