Despite the pandemic, the outgoing US President Trump is holding on to celebrations in the White House. His chosen successor paints a gloomy picture. The country also has a sad new record.
The US President-elect Joe Biden has warned Americans of the dramatic increase in the number of deaths in the corona pandemic and urged them to take protective measures. “I don’t want to scare anyone, but get the facts: we’re likely to lose another 250,000 people between now and January,” Biden said on Wednesday (local time) at an online event with employees and small business owners. “Do you understand me? Because people aren’t paying attention.” The spread of the virus must be contained.
Biden did not provide any information on what he based his estimate of 250,000 other dead. According to statistics from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the coronavirus has killed more than 270,000 people in the United States since the pandemic began. A model by researchers at the IHME Institute at the University of Washington in the US state of Seattle estimates that more than 502,000 deaths by the end of January in the case of relaxed protective measures, and more than 367,000 in the case of stricter protective measures. This model has also been cited several times in the past by the White House.
CDC health chief Robert Redfield said at a US Chamber of Commerce event Wednesday, “Unfortunately, I believe we could be close to 450,000 virus deaths by February.” However, that has not been agreed, but depends on the extent to which the Americans adhere to protective measures. “The reality is, December and January and February will be tough. In fact, I believe it will be the toughest times in this nation’s public health history.”
Trump spokeswoman defends celebrations in the White House
In the official residence of the outgoing President Donald Trump, despite the CDC warnings, celebrations over the Christmas period are being held, as the White House spokeswoman made clear on Wednesday. “If you can loot shops, burn down buildings and protest, you can go to a Christmas party,” Kayleigh McEnany said at a press conference at the White House.
McEnany alluded to the fact that the Democrats would criticize Trump’s public events in the pandemic, but not the – mostly peaceful – protests against racism and police violence. The celebrations are held responsibly and with protective measures, she stressed. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat posed by the virus.
The CDC health agency strongly advises against travel and family visits around all December holidays. “The best way to protect yourself and others is to postpone travel and stay at home,” said CDC employee Henry Walke at a telephone press conference. “We have to stop this exponential growth, so we ask the American people to prevent infections and postpone travel.”
Hospitals already overloaded
The CDC had already advised against family visits and travel for Thanksgiving last week. However, many people did not adhere to it. In the USA, families and large groups of friends traditionally come together for Thanksgiving – but there are also usually large gatherings at Christmas and other holidays in December.
The number of new infections in the USA had recently risen further, and according to the John Hopkins University, the number of corona deaths recorded within 24 hours reached a new high since the beginning of the pandemic at 2,731. A total of more than 13.8 million infections have been reported so far, and more than 273,000 people have died as a result of an infection. In absolute terms, that’s more than in any other country in the world.
The number of Covid 19 patients treated as inpatients is also at an all-time high in the USA. According to the Covid Tracking Project from Wednesday evening, more than 100,000 patients had to be treated in hospital for the first time nationwide. CDC chief Redford also justified his urgent warning with the strain on the health system in the US states.