By Daniel R. Lucey M.D., MPH, FIDSA
Today the Washington Post reported the United States had recorded the highest number of new cases (104,004) in one day, the highest number of hospitalizations in 18 states and 1,114 more deaths. In my opinion, the National Academy of Medicine should convene this month to provide a public statement based on their analysis of the scientific data regarding what protection against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 a mask, or other face covering, provides the wearer.
Such action by NAM would increase the trust that the general public has when they hear public health officials, health workers, politicians and others call for expanded use of masks in addition to social distancing, hand washing, and other measures to defend against COVID-19.
The Post article today stated that the highest number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 were reported in: “18 states — including Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and West Virginia.”
CNN today reported online: “El Paso, Texas, reached a record-high number of hospitalizations Wednesday, with at least 1,041 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the city. Coronavirus is spreading so rampantly in El Paso County that a fourth mobile morgue was headed to the area this week.”
CNN article also noted: “Kansas is suffering another ‘very difficult week for virus spread’ — especially with rising hospitalizations,” according to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Wednesday. “Last week, the closest available ICU bed to one rural hospital was about a six-hour drive away, Kelly said. Across the US, more than 52,000 people were hospitalized Wednesday with coronavirus, according to the Covid Tracking Project.”
As stated here at Science Speaks June 11, when there were over 20,000 new cases and 800 deaths reported in the previous day, high-tide and low-tide waves of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 would continue across America. Now in November it appears there is a rising high-tide of the virus and COVID-19 across America.
An image comes to mind of where America could be headed in the weeks and months ahead if these high-tide waves of the pandemic in America rise and spread further. It is the renowned woodblock print, titled “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”, by the famous Japanese artist Hokusai.
Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine (Teaching) at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, adjunct Professor at Georgetown Medical Center, senior scholar at Georgetown Law, Anthropology Research Associate at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee. He served as a volunteer to outbreaks overseas including patient care in Sierra Leone and Liberia (MSF) during Ebola 2014, SARS 2003, MERS 2013, Plague 2017 as well as H5N1, Zika, and Yellow Fever. Since Jan. 6 he has contributed more than 50 posts to Science Speaks on COVID-19 and traveled to China Feb. 11. With career experiences, he proposed and helped design the 2018-2022 Smithsonian Exhibition on Epidemics.