Public health officials have warned the US that the infection rate and the death toll from coronavirus were going to drastically increase within the first several weeks of lockdown.
That prediction appears to be coming true, as the death toll in the US has reached over 4,000 and the nation has surpassed all other countries in diagnosed cases of coronavirus.
On the upswing
The US has been bracing for a major upswing in infections and deaths for weeks, and it’s happening now. Only one day after reporting over 3,000 deaths since the beginning of the crisis, the death toll jumped by almost 700 to 4,000 deaths.
New York continues to bear the brunt of the nation’s coronavirus burden, with over 76,000 documented infections as of Wednesday morning and 1,700 deaths.
Other states that are hot on New York’s heels include Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Massachusetts, all of which have over 5,000 cases and are seeing hundreds of new cases every day.
President Trump said in his Tuesday coronavirus briefing, “This is going to be a rough two-week period. As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
Nearly 190,000 cases of coronavirus have been identified in the US as of Wednesday morning, and every state besides Wyoming has suffered fatalities from the disease.
Trump praised the efforts of frontline healthcare workers at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, not far from his childhood home.
“I watched the doctors and nurses walking into the hospital this morning and it is like military people going into battle, going into war. The bravery is incredible. If I were wearing a hat, I’d rip that hat off so fast and I would say, ‘You people are just incredible,'” he remarked.
Most states thus far have been able to keep up with the demand for hospital beds and equipment to handle their localized outbreaks, but reports of the shocking conditions in some New York City hospitals are chilling.
With nearly 43,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths in the city alone, hospitals are overwhelmed by an influx of patients surpassing that of the 9/11 attacks. Hospitals were running out of personal protective equipment, hospital beds, ventilators, and even medications weeks ago, and the situation seems to not have improved.
Dr. Calvin Sun, a per diem emergency room specialist, told NBC New York on Monday that he’s worked 18 out of the last 21 days at over a dozen emergency rooms across the city, and that “they’re all on fire. They all need help.”
He likened the shortage of face masks, shields, and gowns to “being asked to run into a burning building naked,” and added, “I’ve treated my own colleagues, nursing staff, put them on breathing machines, intubated them. It’s very saddening to see that we could have prevented all of this if we had been adequately protected from day one.”