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Fauci and public health experts fear a post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 case and death spike

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/25/2020 Cassidy Morrison
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Public health experts are bracing for even more drastic spikes in new cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in the weeks immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday.

"What we don't want to see is yet another surge superposed upon the [current] surge ... which we'll realize three [to] three and a half weeks from now" if people ignore public health guidance, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said on Good Morning America Wednesday.

Average daily cases nationwide have been on a steady rise since early October, from 44,642 average cases the week ending Oct. 5 to an average of 169,381 daily over the past week. Deaths have also risen steadily over the past month, from an average of 812 new deaths in the week ending Nov. 1 to 1,583 new deaths on average reported over the past seven days.

Fauci and other top government experts have implored people to refrain from travel and holding large Thanksgiving gatherings. Fauci added Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine is imminent, but until then, everyone is susceptible to infection and should not “let their guard down.”

Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, similarly urged people not to travel over the weekend, saying there is a “bright day ahead with what this team is delivering on vaccines and therapeutics.”

Azar added, “We want to make sure that everybody is here for next year's Thanksgiving.”

To date, more than 12.7 million cases and nearly 262,000 deaths due to COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States.

A peer-reviewed study, set to be published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents in December, determined that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with antibiotics and zinc significantly decreased hospitalization and mortality rates.

The study found that “the odds of hospitalisation of treated patients was 84% less than in the untreated patients,” and only one patient died from the group being treated with the drugs, compared to 13 deaths in the untreated group.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, is facing criticism for taking a flight to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday, despite warning residents of his city against traveling in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Hancock boarded a flight to Houston, Texas, on Wednesday to visit his daughter in Mississippi.

Roughly half an hour before the flight, the mayor posted a tweet urging citizens to “avoid travel, if they can” and to host virtual gatherings instead of hosting dinners. Newly elected Colorado Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert criticized the mayor, tweeting, “When Denver Mayor Michael Hancock goes against his own orders, Denver residents need to stop taking orders from Mayor Hancock.”

The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, is considering stepping down from his position by the end of this year or early next year.

In an interview with Politico, Slaoui said that he always knew that his position at Operation Warp Speed would be temporary.

"I do not want my departure from the role to have anything to do with the new administration. I have more affinity for the new administration than the current one,” Slaoui said. “This doesn't have to be black and white. I can continue to be available as needed." Slaoui is a registered Democrat.

The NFL has postponed the Thanksgiving night game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens after seven different Ravens players tested positive for the coronavirus in the past three days. The game will now be played on Sunday.

"This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches, and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts," the NFL said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in college football, University of Alabama coach Nick Saban has tested positive for the coronavirus a second time on Wednesday just ahead of a game with rival Auburn University.

"He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a potential false positive,” said Dr. Jimmy Robinson, Alabama's medical director, and Jeff Allen, head football athletic trainer.

Saban tested positive for COVID-19 in October, but it was deemed inaccurate when Saban tested negative in three subsequent tests. Robinson gave Saban the green light to coach Alabama’s winning game against the University of Georgia.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said the state's Agency of Education is directing schools to ask students if they were part of "multi-family gatherings" during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Unfortunately, we know some will still get together and schools have asked for help. @VTEducation will direct schools to ask students or parents if they were part of multi-family gatherings and if the answer is yes, they'll need to go remote for 14 days or 7 days and a test,” Scott said on Twitter.

As coronavirus cases fall across Europe again after a recent spike, many countries are considering easing lockdowns.

The World Health Organization reported on Wednesday that cases dropped 6% in Europe last week and 10% the week before. In Italy, shops in low-infection areas may be allowed to reopen 10 days before Christmas. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a plan Monday to return to a three-tiered system of restrictions after Dec. 2. The areas with the most severe outbreaks would face the tightest restrictions.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that restrictions would be eased beginning on Saturday. Shops can begin reopening with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. Religious institutions will be allowed to reopen but will be limited to 30 people or fewer in attendance. Residents can leave their home for three hours to exercise, but they may not travel more than a 12-mile radius to do so.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown urged people to alert law enforcement if they see people violating public health guidelines on Thanksgiving Day.

“This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake,” Brown said in an interview last week. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance.”

Tags: Healthcare, News, Coronavirus, Thanksgiving, CDC, HHS, Trump administration, Anthony Fauci

Original Author: Cassidy Morrison

Original Location: Fauci and public health experts fear a post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 case and death spike

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