Health officials brace for a surge in US Covid-19 cases after the holidays


With Christmas in the rear view mirror, public well being consultants are bracing for yet one more surge in Covid-19 cases, just like these seen after different US holidays in current months.

“We’ve just seen these amplification events, and that’s what’s happened at the end of this year in the US,” mentioned Erin Bromage, an affiliate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

“We had Thanksgiving, we had Labor Day, we had Halloween, and each one of these events brought lots of people together and just gave the virus more fuel to move through the population,” Bromage mentioned. “Christmas is going to do a similar thing.”

Despite warnings by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to postpone journey and keep dwelling, greater than 7.1 million folks have been screened at TSA checkpoints over the final week, based on the company’s numbers.

Nearly 1.2 million folks have been screened at airports on Wednesday alone, an air journey document for the pandemic. While the variety of vacationers screened on Christmas Day — 616,469 folks — represents simply 23% of the whole screened on the similar day a yr in the past, the determine stays worrying for officials as a result of it doesn’t sign the finish of the vacation journey rush, however a lull earlier than vacationers start to return dwelling.

For weeks, well being consultants and officials have urged Americans to be secure this vacation season, and that steering extends to New Year’s Eve, with the CDC urging revelers to have fun at dwelling or just about. If they host an in-person celebration, the company suggests staying exterior, limiting the numbers of visitors, making additional masks obtainable and protecting background music low to keep away from shouting.

Dr. Carlos del Rio, govt affiliate dean of Emory University’s School of Medicine, mentioned if folks get collectively they need to maintain gatherings under 10 folks and get examined at the least as soon as, perhaps twice.

“Your level of protection is as strong as your weakest link, and if there’s a weak link, then the virus is going to spread,” he instructed CNN. “We’ve learned how quickly this virus and how easily this virus spreads, so we have to take all the precautions possible.”

UK vacationers face new US testing requirement Monday

Officials concern the surge whilst the US plans to require a unfavorable Covid-19 take a look at for all vacationers from the UK, following the emergence of a new coronavirus variant that’s doubtlessly extra transmissible and mentioned to have originated in the UK.

The CDC introduced Thursday passengers will want a unfavorable PCR or antigen take a look at inside 72 hours of boarding a flight from the UK to the US, together with documentation of their laboratory outcomes. Airlines will probably be required to verify the take a look at previous to the flight.

The order goes into impact Monday.

But the CDC’s personal researchers have discovered getting a Covid-19 take a look at three days earlier than touring reduces the danger of spreading the novel coronavirus by simply 5 to 9%, based on a paper posted on-line final month.

Testing on the day of departure might scale back that danger by 37 to 61%, per the paper, which has not been peer-reviewed.

Dr. del Rio was skeptical that the testing requirement could be efficient, telling CNN Saturday he believed it could be higher to additionally require a speedy antigen take a look at at the time of boarding, and maybe at the time of touchdown in the US.

One take a look at ‘not enough’

“One test in my mind is not enough,” he mentioned. “I think you need to do two tests at least.”

The CDC mentioned earlier this week that the variant has not been recognized by means of sequencing efforts in the US, however that may very well be as a result of the US surveillance system established for Covid-19 hasn’t caught it but.

It’s “highly possible” the new variant is already in the US, del Rio mentioned, given how rapidly the virus spreads.

“I want to stress to the public that rather than getting terribly concerned about this new strain, I think we need to just reinforce the restrictions we’ve been talking about,” he mentioned, pointing to masks sporting and social distancing.



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