North American Observation丨Holiday Epidemic + Mutated Virus: US Epidemic Prevention Faces Double Test
CCTV News Client 2020-12-30
As of the 27th local time, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of new coronary pneumonia in the United States has exceeded 19 million, and according to current trends, it is likely to reach 20 million when the new year approaches. The United States is currently facing a very complicated situation. On the one hand, holiday travel may once again increase the number of infected people. On the other hand, the mutant new crown virus may cause greater epidemic prevention risks. Many experts have recently warned that the United States is at a “very critical moment in fighting the epidemic” “.
Several experts warned that the epidemic worsened after the holiday
The “darkest days” have yet to come
Infectious disease expert Fauci once again issued a warning on the 27th: After the holiday, the number of confirmed cases in the United States will have a peak of “wave after wave”, and the epidemic prevention situation will get worse in the next few weeks. Fauci told CNN that the “darkest days” have not yet come. He echoed the words of President-elect Biden of the United States. Biden emphasized last week that, to be honest, the situation in the United States is not optimistic about the epidemic, and Americans should be prepared because the “darkest days” are still ahead.
December has become the most “deadly” month since the outbreak in the United States. At least 63,000 Americans have died of new coronary pneumonia, which is almost one-fifth of the current cumulative death toll. Many experts pointed out that an important reason for the rapid deterioration of the epidemic in December was that a large number of people traveled and gathered during the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of November, and the fall and winter flu season was superimposed, leading to the rapid spread of the virus.
△Image source: Getty Images
The ensuing New Year’s traditional holiday has made experts more worried about the situation in January. According to estimates by the transportation department, 85 million people traveled this holiday season. The airport recorded more than one million passengers for several consecutive days. On the 27th, the number of air passengers reached 1.284 million, setting a single-day record since March 15. Former Director of the Food and Drug Administration Gottlieb warned on the CBS news program on the 27th that the increase in hospitalization will lag behind the new cases by a few weeks, and “we will face a severe month.”
The foreseeable peak of the epidemic in January has not yet arrived, and the US medical system is already overwhelmed. The number of hospitalizations nationwide has exceeded 100,000 for 26 consecutive days. Moreover, data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the 28th showed that since the end of September, the proportion of patients with new coronary pneumonia in intensive care units has been steadily increasing, and has reached By 40%.
The impact of mutant viruses is still unpredictable
Not only is the “holiday epidemic” threatening the prospects for epidemic prevention in the United States, the mutated new coronaviruses found around the world are also a major hidden danger.
Gottlieb said that the mutated new coronavirus may have appeared in the United States, and there may already be a considerable number. He believes that the United States needs a better way to sequence and track virus strains: “In the United States, we have not sequenced enough samples, and much of the sequencing work is done in private laboratories and will not be aggregated into public databases. . This needs to be resolved.” “In the United Kingdom, they are sequencing about 10% of all samples. In the United States, we only perform 1% sequencing.”
The US Centers for Disease Control said that the new mutant coronavirus has a series of mutations. Based on these mutations, it has been predicted that the mutant virus has the ability to spread faster. The World Health Organization said that most people infected with the mutant new coronavirus are people under the age of 60. CNN senior medical reporter Cohen (Elizabeth Cohen) believes that this may be one of the reasons for its rapid spread. People under the age of 60 are often asymptomatic after being infected. , So they will maintain normal social activities, causing the virus to spread more quickly.
Because of the characteristics of the mutated new crown virus, holiday travel will cause more serious consequences. Many experts urge Americans to avoid traveling as much as possible to avoid infecting their family and friends without symptoms.
At present, the United States is highly dependent on vaccines to fight the epidemic. Trump administration officials and experts have stated that vaccines are effective against mutated new coronaviruses. However, pharmaceutical companies are still cautious in their statements. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was “cautiously optimistic” about the effectiveness of the company’s vaccine last week. He said that some data show that this new virus strain is equally sensitive to vaccines, but the research is still ongoing and will be completed within 10 days.
At the same time, the spread of the mutated new coronavirus may mean that more people need to be vaccinated. According to Ugur Sahin, CEO of Pfizer’s German partner BioNTech, the traditional view is that the vaccination rate is about 60% to 70% to achieve herd immunity. However, if the mutated new coronavirus is more contagious, it may require a high vaccination rate to ensure that society can return to normal life.
△Image source: Getty Images
Anti-epidemic faces two prominent contradictions
The United States currently faces two prominent contradictions in its fight against the epidemic. On the one hand, the speed of vaccine distribution is not as fast as expected. According to Bloomberg’s statistics, the United States has vaccinated 2 million doses of vaccines. Although there may be delays in reports from various places, it is clearly far from the government’s goal of “20 million vaccines before the end of the year”. Gottlieb, the former director of the Food and Drug Administration, believes that the reality is that the pace of vaccination will be slower than declared. “The idea that we will get 20 million vaccines by the end of this year may be unrealistic at present.”
On the other hand, it is difficult to coordinate operations across the United States. In an interview with the media on the 28th, Fauci said that each state has its own way of controlling the epidemic. Whether it is New York, New Jersey, Florida or Georgia, as long as it crosses the state boundary, there will be a different set of practices, which cannot be formed at all. Consistent. “Unfortunately, the United States is the most severely affected country in the world. I believe that the differences between states are a major weakness in our response to (the epidemic).” Moreover, Fauci also pointed out that the political division makes “simple Public health affairs have become complicated.” For example, on the issue of whether to wear a mask, support or opposition seems to have become a political statement. The “politicization” of public health measures slowed the response.
The situation is grim and the government is not acting, which also makes the American media very dissatisfied. Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration remained silent on the mutated new crown virus and the worsening crisis in some regions. Instead, Trump criticized the Democratic governor on social media for taking emergency measures to contain the epidemic, saying that “The blockade of the Democratic governing states is absolutely ruining. The lives of many people”. (Headquarters reporter Wang Fengzhi)
Editor: Wang Yu