The U.S. enters a period of explosive growth of coronavirus infections. Over the weekend, the U.S. became the first nation to cross 10 million COVID-19 cases after reporting about a million new cases in the past 10 days. Health experts warn that the U.S. is heading into the worst of the crisis and estimate another 100,000 people can lose their lives to the virus by January. More than 237,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Notable among the members is Rick Bright, a vaccine expert and former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale physician and researcher; Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general; and David Kessler, a former FDA commissioner.
Nearly all U.S. states are seeing rises in coronavirus cases. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 42 states reported at least 10% more new Covid-19 infections this past week. There are currently more than 56,000 Americans hospitalized with the virus with a record number of hospitalizations anticipated in a few days.
Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the latest Trump administration staff member to contract the virus.
Carson attended an election night party where most, including infected White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, were not wearing masks. Meadows and four other staffers tested positive for the virus last week.
Drug maker Pfizer announced Monday that early data on its coronavirus vaccine suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. The encouraging announcement sent stocks soaring. Researchers conducting the study cautioned that the initial protection rate might change by the time the study ends.
Whenever any vaccine arrives, initial supplies will be scarce and rationed, with priority likely to be given to health care workers and others on the front lines. Pfizer has estimated that 50 million doses of its vaccine could be available globally by the end of 2020, with health care workers and other essential workers receiving the vaccine first.
As the U.S. logs record-setting coronavirus cases over the past week, makers of N95 masks – which filter out at least 95% of small particles, including viruses – are struggling to meet demand.
3M Company, the largest domestic manufacturer of N95 masks, said in a recent interview that “U.S. and global demand for PPE continues to far exceed supply for the entire industry.”
Hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities and businesses are using 20 times the amount of PPE needed before the pandemic began.