The Untied States has recorded over 25,000 coronavirus fatalities, a bleak number as cases surge once again across the country. According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has now registered 250,029 deaths and nearly 11.5mn cases; the active cases and death toll of the infection are higher than any other country across the globe. The daily caseload has once again started to spike, hitting new daily highs in last week.
Dr. Anthony Fauci while talking to BBC on Wednesday said the country was “going in the wrong direction at a very precarious time”, with people more likely to stay at their homes as weather gets colder western hemisphere. New York City which was hit harder than any other city in the spring has announced the closure of its schools from Thursday amid soaring numbers. The decision to shut the US’s largest public-school system came as positive rates for infections surpassed 3% mark, officials say. It will affect 300,000 children in the NYC which was epicenter of the pandemic when it arrived in US.
What did Fauci Say?
Dr. Fauci, the top US expert on infectious diseases, in an interview given to BBC News warned that new spike in cases is leading to more deaths.
“It’s a very serious situation because there are lagging indicators,” he said. “So, when you see the massive increase in cases as we’re seeing now particularly as more and more people are doing things inside, we’re in a very difficult situation.”
He urged public to “double down” on public health measures such as face masks, social distancing and avoiding gatherings.
“They sound so simple and we know they can work. But there’s a degree of COVID fatigue – people just are worn out with these restrictions,” Dr. Fauci said. He repeated his call for people to “hold out for just a little longer because help is on the way” in from of vaccines.
The scientist at the end of March when the US had recorded over 2,200 deaths predicted the pandemic could result in the deaths of up to 200,000 Americans and infect millions more. On Wednesday Pfizer and BioNTech claimed their vaccine had 94% effectiveness rate for adults over 65 years old. BioNTech and Pfizer, last week in their preliminary data suggested the jab offered 90% protections against coronavirus and said there were no safety issues. This was followed by US-based Moderna suggesting around 95% protection rate and similar outcomes of Russian-made Sputnik.
Situation in New York City right now
A letter released by NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Wednesday informed parents about the closure of all schools and virtual classrooms immediately coming into effect and will remain so “until further notice”.
“You will hear from your principal shortly about next steps for you and your student. Please note that this is a temporary closure, and school buildings will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The new announcement came only 8 weeks after the school system reopened for students. It is the latest city to adapt the closure and shift the learning activity online after Detroit and Boston while Philadelphia and Las Vegas postponed their plans to return students to classrooms.
Bill de Blasio, the New York mayor, said: “No one is happy about this decision. We all in fact are feeling very sad about this decision because so much good work has been put into keeping the schools open, opening them up to begin with.”
However, he added that officials had “set a very clear standard” on safety standards needed to be satisfied in order for schools t reopen “and we need to stick to that standard”.
“I want to emphasize to parents, to educators, to staff, to kids that we will intend to come back and come back as quickly as possible,” he said.
The curbs on school activity are the latest measure activated to stem the new spread of cases.