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[Published: Saturday November 21 2020]

 US COVID-19 outbreak is worse than it has ever been

WASHINGTON, 21 Nov. - (ANA) - As Americans’ reactions to the pandemic become increasingly divorced from reality, public-health officials may be facing their biggest challenge.
more than 1 million new cases were logged in just the week leading up to Nov. 17. Nonetheless, people appear unwilling to take the kind of drastic measures they did this spring, when lockdowns went into effect in many parts of the country and most people cut out socializing with anyone outside their household. 
The US is now locked in a deadly cycle of setting, then shattering, records for new cases and hospitalizations. On November 13, a staggering 177,224 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with COVID-19. 
As of November 17, more than 70,000 coronavirus patients were hospitalized nationwide. And unlike in earlier waves, which were fairly regionalised, the virus was as of November 17 spreading–and fast–in virtually every part of the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data. 
This coast-to-coast surge is pushing hospitals across the country to the edge of catastrophe, their doctors and nurses exhausted and their intensive-care units running dangerously low on beds. Some cities are already playing out their dystopian worst-case scenarios; in El Paso, Texas, the dead have been shunted to mobile morgues partially staffed by the incarcerated.
he U.S. public has become terrifyingly good at ignoring those harsh realities. Almost 40% of respondents to a recent Ohio State University survey said they plan to gather with at least 10 people for Thanksgiving, even though in many areas this comes with the likelihood of sharing a table with an infectious person. Many people continue to dine at indoor restaurants and work out in gyms, because many elected officials continue to let them. Almost 980,000 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints on Nov. 15, nearly quadrupling the number recorded six months earlier, when COVID-19 was nowhere near as widespread.
From a public-health perspective, Thanksgiving was always going to be a problem. Maskless indoor gatherings in close quarters are perfect breeding grounds for the virus, and many Thanksgiving celebrations will likely include older adults at high risk of severe COVID-19. After months of separation, it’s natural that people are desperate to see loved ones and reclaim a sense of normality–but things are far from normal.  - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/21 November 2020 - - -

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