The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Only Getting Worse

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

By Elle Meyers

October 20, 2020

Hospitalizations are growing in 37 states as Dr. Anthony Fauci says United States is not yet “on the road” to ending the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse once again in the United States. 

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are growing in the majority of states and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says that the United States and the world are not yet “on the road” to ending the pandemic. 

The hospitalization rate is a key measure for experts to gauge the severity of the pandemic. A high hospitalization rate, much like a high rate of test positivity, tells scientists how much the virus is spreading in a community. It also helps doctors monitor the need for hospitalization with hospital capacity. 

According to the Covid Tracking Project, the hospitalization rate is growing in 37 states in the US. The figure is up 5% from the week before. States like Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska and Utah, among others, hit record highs in average hospitalization rates. 

The increasing hospitalization rates is especially concerning given the time of year. Experts have been warning the country could be in for a long winter with the combination of COVID-19 and flu season. Typically, flu season in the United States doesn’t peak until December, January, and February, so a startling rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations in mid-October spells trouble. 

Colder weather is another factor. In the spring and summer months, people were able to participate in outdoor activities, but colder temperatures will send people indoors. Even small indoor gatherings can easily spread COVID-19 and the flu, which will increase the strain on hospital systems. 

“We are clearly in the second wave in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere and we really need to have more control of this infection at the community level,” said Dr. Issac Bogoch to CNBC. Dr. Bogoch works as an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Toronto. “We know exactly what it’s like when health-care systems are spread beyond capacity. We saw that in New York City. We saw that in Houston. We saw that in many other parts of the United States.”

In Wisconsin, health officials have reported frequently seen record highs in cases per day. Up North News reported the state had over 3,000 cases reported Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday last week.  

Hospitals in some parts of Wisconsin are running out of beds for sick patients and hospitals are struggling with a staffing shortage as an increasing number of workers quarantine after being exposed to the virus.

Hospitalization and death rates are measures that often lag because patients do not become severely ill immediately after testing positive which means the current spike could grow larger before it gets better. 

The growing hospitalization rate across the country comes as new data shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump in public trust to handle the pandemic. According to a New York Times and Siena College poll of likely voters, Biden is favored over Trump to lead on handling the coronavirus pandemic by 12 points. 

The data found that Biden leads Trump in every hot button issue, and overall leads the current president by nine points.


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