Top medical experts reaffirmed a dark winter is ahead amid concerning rises of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and a record-breaking daily death toll, while urging Americans to follow mitigation measures.
“They [Americans] will be facing a dark winter, sadly,” Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, wrote to Fox News in an emailed statement. “Due to the high incidence currently, which is likely to continue to spread without interventions to reaffirm the hygienic public health requests (face masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene) in a consistent and unified manner throughout the country.”
Dr. Steven Gordon, chair of infectious disease at Cleveland Clinic, said staff at the Ohio medical center is “extremely concerned” about increases of coronavirus cases in the region and nationwide.
“We are experiencing the highest volume of patients with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and across the country others are experiencing similar situations: rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Gordon wrote to Fox News. “We expect to see further increases as a result of interactions over the Thanksgiving holiday, and the next few weeks and months could be very difficult for many families as well as our health care workers who have been on the front lines of this pandemic for nine months now. “
Galiatsatos and Gordon emphasized the need for Americans to follow mitigation measures like mask-wearing, social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding gatherings.
“Yes, winter is coming, a dark winter, for Americans at the moment on this trajectory. However, we have the ability to mitigate this forecast,” Galiatsatos said.
Gordon noted that while there are “promising vaccines around the corner,” now isn’t the time to let up.
Further, according to Dr. Dean Winslow, infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, it will be mid-to-late 2021, at the earliest, by the time that 60% or more of the U.S. population is immunized against COVID-19 and we have the level of “herd immunity” for transmission to slow down.
Until that point, the U.S. continues to break coronavirus-related records, like daily death tolls and hospitalizations, the latter of which topped 100,000 for the first time this week.