CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship November 13, 2020
November 13, 2020
The we’re-increasingly-alarmed-yet-a-tad-bit-optimistic edition. COVID-19 is burning through America’s heartland like a California wildfire. Over the past week, there has been an average of 134,078 new cases a day, an increase of 72 percent from the average two weeks earlier. The U.S. may soon see new confirmed cases climb above 200,000 a day – a figure that would have been unfathomable when daily cases peaked at over 70,000 new cases a day last July. In multiple states, hospital officials warned that the current spike is straining resources and sidelining the very staffers needed to care for sick people. In North Dakota, healthcare workers with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 will be allowed to keep working as the number of infected patients outpaces the staff members needed to care for them in some parts of the state.
And yet: pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has reported a vaccine with an effectiveness rate of over 90 percent – millions of frontline care workers could begin receiving it by next month. “Help is really on the way,” says Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert. “If you think about it metaphorically, the cavalry is coming here.” More good news: brand new antibody treatment protocols might mean a large number of Americans who contract COVID-19 will not become seriously ill, if treated in the early stages. And we’re learning more and more about how – and specifically where — we catch COVID-19. In the pandemic’s early months, 8 in 10 infections occurred as a result of people congregating in crowded indoor venues such as restaurants, gyms, and cafes. Such knowledge could help us lower infections going forward, along with the promised vaccine.
Still. There currently is no cavalry coming for the millions of Americans who stand to lose unemployment benefits or face evictions in roughly seven weeks – some unemployment aid and the federal eviction moratorium will expire on Dec. 31. It will be a bleak holiday season for many, as families struggle to pay bills and put food on the table, to say nothing of buying presents for the children. Maybe in lieu of presents, Republicans in the Senate could just do the job they were elected to do – bring help to a nation so desperately in need.