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US Health Experts Warn of Surge in Virus in Coming Weeks, Advise Caution

11-30-2020
COVIDWarning
In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo, healthcare workers process people waiting in line at a United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 testing site in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The nation's top doctors are warning of a post-holiday spike in coronavirus cases. That's on top of the surge in infections and hospitalizations the US is seeing nationwide as winter approaches.

More than 93,000 Americans are in the hospital, a more than 90 percent spike since Nov 1. The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States topped 200,000 for the first time Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Since January, when the first infections were reported in the U.S., the nation’s total number of cases has surpassed 13 million. More than 265,000 people have died.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Americans who traveled this past week should try to avoid people over 65. She said that those who were around others for Thanksgiving "have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC's "This Week" that the level of infection in the U.S. would not "all of a sudden turnaround."

"So clearly in the next few weeks, we're going to have the same sort of thing. And perhaps even two or three weeks down the line ... we may see a surge upon a surge," he said.

Fauci also addressed the closed schools issue, saying that spread "among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected. So let's try to get the kids back, but let's try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we're trying to avoid," he said.

Fauci said the arrival of vaccines offers a “light at the end of the tunnel.” This coming week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss a rollout of the vaccine, he said.

Health care workers will likely be among the first to get the vaccine, with the first vaccinations happening before the end of December, followed by many more in January, February, and March, he said.

More COVID-19 restrictions were in store for California starting Monday. Los Angeles County will impose a lockdown calling for its 10 million residents to stay home. Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose, is banning all high school, collegiate, and professional sports and imposing a quarantine for anyone traveling into the region from more than 150 miles away.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway for potential vaccines. United Airlines is flying in doses of Pfizer's vaccine to be ready for distribution if approved by the FDA.

Also, Moderna announced it will apply for emergency authorization for its vaccine today.

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