The real pandemic test is ahead in California

There is little certainty in a pandemic. But since the earliest days of the coronavirus, when “social distancing” had yet to enter the lexicon and the postponement of life as we knew it seemed an impossible thought experts have warned that fall and winter could bring the worst waves of viral spread.

For months, we have barreled like a slow-motion train on a collision course with the calendar. And now here we are — a weary nation rapidly approaching mid-November.

With time came the benefit of medical advances, new treatments and doctors who are better-versed in treating severe cases. But the Strategic National Stockpile has only 115 million N95 masks, a little more than a third of what the administration had planned to gather by winter.

In North Dakota, the hospital system is so overburdened that hospital workers who have tested positive have been instructed to return to work while infected, so long as they remain asymptomatic. In El Paso, Texas, the four mobile morgues on the ground are not enough to meet the huge demand.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the United States each day has ballooned from fewer than 40,000 in early September to more than 100,000 in early November. A new record high was set Wednesday, with the number surpassing 140,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day.

Things are currently not this severe in California, but increasing case counts and hospitalization numbers have surfaced new concerns that the state is trending in the wrong direction ahead of a particularly dangerous period, as said by officials.

On Tuesday, state officials announced 11 counties moving back to more restrictive tiers in California’s reopening system, resulting in an unprecedented regression with more likely to follow. “We anticipate, if things stay the way they are, that between this week and next week, over half of California counties will have moved into a more restrictive tier,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.

Hospitalizations have begun to rise slightly, but the average daily number of COVID-19 patients in California’s hospitals remains at less than half of what we saw during the summer peak. Deaths remain comparatively low, with California recording the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths that we had seen since March last week. But hospitalizations and deaths are considered lagging indicators of the virus’ spread, meaning they probably indicate exposures that occurred weeks prior.

As per facts, “a version of the nightmare scenarios seen in Europe and the U.S. Midwest, where hospitals are overwhelmed, could easily happen in California if the state’s residents collectively shrug at the pandemic and dive into large communal Thanksgiving feasts, with family and friends flying from around the country and spending half a day together indoors, giving hugs and taking off their masks.”

And now, all across California a new coronavirus stimulus package looks unlikely until the Biden administration. Hopes that Congress would act swiftly after the election to provide more coronavirus relief for Americans are gradually fading as Senate Republicans continue to resist large spending measures and pressure from President Trump to take action has died down.

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Harsh Waghmode
An undergraduate pursuing B.Tech (Electronics & Telecommunications) from MITS, Gwalior. However, I have keen interest in writing and reading and therefore, I write poetries, stories, blogs, articles. Around a couple years back, I founded a literary organisation named Doodling Words, based in Sagar, Madhya Pardesh. We are a team of 20 artists. Doodling Words recently collaborated with IIM, Indore and MNIT, Jaipur.

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