Coronavirus in the United States: hospitals fear a European-style scenario

The first wave never fell in the United States, but cases are starting to rise again.

After a very rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases for several weeks in the United States, hospitals in several regions are now under pressure again, forcing local authorities to take new measures to try to deal with the ‘epidemic.

Americans fear today a European scenario, while the average contamination now exceeds 100,000 new cases every day. Some 62,000 people sick with Covid-19 are currently hospitalized on American soil, according to the Covid Tracking Project, unheard of.

Critical situation in Texas

The situation is particularly worrying in the region of El Paso, Texas, which has exceeded one million cases detected. El Paso County, on the border with Mexico, alone has more than 1,000 people hospitalized, compared to just over 6,000 throughout Texas. Hospitals there are 40% occupied by Covid-19 patients.

“It’s a very dark time,” said Dr. Ogechika Alozie, of Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, interviewed Wednesday morning on CNN. “The word that stands out is fatigue, and frustration.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has asked to use a military medical center to accommodate patients other than those with Covid-19, in order to free up places. Additional mobile mortuaries must also be installed.

No national measures

The situation in El Paso also reflects the difficulties in implementing restrictive measures in a country where the federal government has not given firm leadership at the national level. President Trump, who has repeatedly played down the epidemic, has left it to state, county and city officials to manage the health crisis.

He has placed a lot of his hopes on the rapid development of a vaccine. The positive results of clinical trials conducted by the Pfizer laboratory point to the start of vaccination at the end of this year or early 2021.

But the urgency is immediate. If the number of deaths recorded each day is still far from having returned to spring levels, the United States deplored more than 1,500 deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday.

New records

The first wave never fell in the United States, but the contaminations curve has experienced a total of three notable increases: a first in the spring, with the epicenter of New York State, a rebound during the summer, especially in the south of the country, and a new peak since mid-October, at levels never before reached.

The records set are currently set by the Midwest. In North and South Dakota, more than one in 2,000 residents is currently hospitalized for Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum this week authorized health workers who tested positive to continue working in units dedicated to the virus, in order to cope with “enormous pressure” on the healthcare system. In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz ordered bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m., and a 10-person limit for any gathering. Further west, in Utah, wearing a mask in public has been made mandatory statewide.


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