-- The number of newly reported COVID-19 deaths will likely increase over the next four weeks, with 10,600 to 21,400 new deaths likely to be reported in the week ending Dec. 19, predicted the CDC.
-- With the absence of a national strategy, states and cities were largely left on their own in battling the pandemic. Political polarization, misinformation and conspiracy theories fueled by a very divisive election have allowed the pandemic to take root and bloom.
-- "A failure of leadership at many levels and across parties; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general; and deeply ingrained cultural attitudes about individuality and how we value human lives have all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response," Time magazine said.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Americans took flights during the Thanksgiving week even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had warned against holiday travel due to the worst-ever surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country recently.
Over 1.1 million travelers went through security lines at U.S. airports on Sunday, said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Monday.
It is the second time that the 1 million passenger mark has been broken within just a single week. The TSA screened 1.07 million passengers on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
The record uptick in airline travel since the pandemic gripped the country in March came when the United States has reached a grim weekly milestone: more than 1 million new COVID-19 cases every week.
Yet mounting a unified response seems like a rather difficult mission in the country where the pandemic and economic upheaval it caused have already widened partisan divisions and whipped up a storm of misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Travelers wearing face masks line up for security checks at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, the United States, Nov. 25, 2020. (Photo by Joel Lerner/Xinhua)
Colder months ahead, along with the spread of cases during holiday travel, means the pandemic could get worse, health experts warned.
The country has recorded more than 13.45 million cases with over 267,400 related deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The CDC reported 152,608 new cases nationwide on Sunday, the 22nd consecutive day that the daily case count had surpassed 100,000.
Residents wait in line outside a Costco Warehouse in Los Angeles, the United States, Nov. 20, 2020. (Xinhua)
Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients nationwide reached an all-time high of 93,238 on Sunday, according to the latest data of the COVID Tracking Project. The number surpassed Saturday's record of 91,635 hospitalized patients.
"All things considered, we're not in a good place," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a virtual question-and-answer session on the pandemic on Monday.
Too many people have traveled and gathered for Thanksgiving, Fauci said. "You'll see the difference two or three weeks from now, which would put it right at the time that people would be traveling for Christmas."
The CDC said forecasting models predict that the death toll in the United States could reach up to 321,000 by mid-December, according to Fox News.
People wait in line to get tests for COVID-19 at a testing site in Washington D.C., the United States, Nov. 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
The nation's top infectious disease expert again urged people not to let their guard down though a coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon.
"We have it within our power to get ourselves through this until we ultimately get a vaccine," Fauci said, emphasizing, among others, universal mask-wearing is particularly important.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday told reporters that the intensive care unit bed capacity in the state might reach 112 percent by Christmas Eve, if the trend of surging coronavirus cases continues.
Hospitals across New York could soon face acute staffing shortages at a time when a surge in COVID-19 patient admissions is threatening to overwhelm some medical centers, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned Monday.
People wearing face masks pass by a Macy's store in New York, the United States, Nov. 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
If admissions from the contagion continue to shoot higher, Cuomo said, a second statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses might have to be imposed. The statewide positivity rate from testing stood at 4.57 percent, the highest in more than six months.
The number of newly reported COVID-19 deaths will likely increase over the next four weeks, with 10,600 to 21,400 new deaths likely to be reported in the week ending Dec. 19, predicted the CDC.
"ABSOLUTE CHAOTIC DISASTER"
The federal government must take "urgent actions" in its response to the pandemic, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Had the U.S. government heeded its medical advisers "in late spring and adopted measures to curb new infections, the nation could now be on track to exit the epidemic next year with far fewer deaths per capita than many other nations," said a report by the New York Times on Monday.
A delivery worker walks past an office building boarded up with plywood in Washington D.C., the United States, Nov. 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
With the absence of a national strategy, states and cities were largely left on their own in battling the pandemic. Political polarization, misinformation and conspiracy theories fueled by a very divisive election have allowed the pandemic to take root and bloom.
Slamming U.S. President Donald Trump administration's response to the crisis, former U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. handling of the pandemic is an "absolute chaotic disaster."
In an article published September, Time magazine summarized why the United States foundered in its response to the pandemic.
"A failure of leadership at many levels and across parties; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general; and deeply ingrained cultural attitudes about individuality and how we value human lives have all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response," it said.
An employee checks a shopper's temperature during Black Friday shopping at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, Illinois, the United States, Nov. 27, 2020. (Photo by Joel Lerner/Xinhua)
A case in the point is that nearly a year after COVID-19 first appeared in the country, Americans have still not come to a uniform consensus on mask wearing.
The simple, effective means to curb the spread of the virus has been politicized too.
Research shows that 73 percent of Democrats are wearing masks to fight coronavirus, compared with only 59 percent for Republicans.
A man wearing a face mask walks at the Times Square in New York, the United States, Nov. 18, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
During the election campaign, Trump was often seen in public not wearing a mask, while contender Joe Biden was usually seen wearing one.
The governors of Iowa and New Hampshire just issued mask mandates for the first time in mid-November.
Medical experts are also concerned that a growing "anti-vaxx" movement in the United States would further complicate the country's fight against COVID-19.
Road is closed far away from the area for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is not open to public for on-site viewing, in New York, the United States, Nov. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
A recent Gallup poll showed 42 percent of Americans said they would not get vaccinated, most of them citing the rushed timeline and concern over possible side effects.
The incoming Biden administration has laid out "an ambitious" pandemic response plan, but his hands "appeared tied until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20," said the New York Times report.
"There's not a ton of power in being president-elect," Mitchell Warren, the founder of AVAC, an AIDS advocacy group that focuses on several diseases, was quoted as saying in the report.
(Video reporter: Zhang Mocheng; Video editor: Wei Yin)■