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In Covid circumstances, hospital stays proceed to extend because the US reaches a "essential level" in a pandemic

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Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) arrive with a correctional patient at North Shore Medical Center where patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be treated on July 14, 2020 in Miami, Florida, United States.

Maria Alejandra Cardona | Reuters

The United States reports another record average number of new cases of the coronavirus as a senior health official warned on Wednesday that the country was at a "critical point".

The U.S. reported 73,240 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the 7-day average of new cases to about 71,832. This is a new record and an increase of more than 20% compared to a week ago. This is based on a CNBC analysis of the data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Three dozen states reported that the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 has increased by at least 5% over the past week. This comes from data from the Covid Tracking Project, which collects tests, hospital stays and other data on the outbreak. According to Hopkins data, cases in 45 states have increased by at least that amount.

"Like the nation after Memorial Day, we are at another critical point in the pandemic response," said Adm. Brett Giroir, deputy health minister who leads the government's testing efforts, on the TODAY show on Wednesday. "Cases are growing in most states in the country. Hospitalizations have increased, although we still have tens of thousands of hospitalizations below July, but that is increasing. And we are starting to increase the death toll."

Giroir acknowledged that increased testing alone cannot explain the surge in certain cases, even though President Donald Trump attributes the surge to testing alone and continues to downplay the outbreak.

Giroir went on to stress that "we can control the virus" by following public health measures such as social distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowded gatherings and frequent hand washing.

The increase in cases and hospitalizations is starting to overwhelm some hospitals in parts of the country. The Salt Lake Tribune reported over the weekend that the Utah Hospital Association is asking the governor to allow them to receive rations. And in Texas, El Paso County judge Ricardo Samaniego imposed a curfew on Sunday to protect hospitals and workers who were “overwhelmed and exhausted”.

Public health professionals and epidemiologists have been warning for months that the virus would likely rise as the weather turns colder in the fall and winter. This is mainly because people are more likely to stay indoors in colder weather, and some epidemiologists believe the virus can spread more easily through colder, drier air.

Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, told CNBC this week that the outbreak is likely to worsen this winter.

Giroir said the government "takes this very seriously, adding that if people fail to adhere to public health guidelines" it could force local officials or government officials in the states to take more draconian measures as cases will rise if they do we don't do this. t make a change. "

"We have the tools to fight this," he said. "We can control it. This is a very important time to do it."

His comments come days after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Sunday that the US will not control the pandemic.

"We're not going to control the pandemic," Meadows told CNN. "We will control the fact that we are given vaccines, therapeutics, and other remedies."

Urged when asked why the US can't make an effort to fight the pandemic, Meadows said, "Because, like the flu, it's a contagious virus."

Giroir stressed on Wednesday that the US has more weight loss tools for the virus, such as more tests that can help detect cases earlier before people become seriously ill. Scientists have also found a number of drugs that are helpful in treating Covid-19, including the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone.

No vaccine has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but Giroir said one is coming this year and will help end the pandemic. However, public health professionals say a vaccine won't stop the outbreak abruptly, especially since we don't know how effective one could be.

"There is a feeling among the general population that when we get a vaccine and get vaccinated, it's like putting on armor," said Schaffner, the Vanderbilt epidemiologist. "That won't be the case."

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Steven Gregory