As the heat of COVID draws to a close, many experts fear it might go awry and suggest that American families zoom in and start planning Thanksgiving.
Because of the many uncertainties, public health scientists say it is easier to forecast the weather on Thanksgiving Day than to predict how the American coronovirus crisis will play out this autumn. They say that school reopening, holiday travel and more indoor activity in cold weather can all increase the transmission of viruses differently and add in ways that can increase the risk.
Here is one way this could happen: As more schools open for in-person instruction and more college students return to campuses, outbreaks of small groups of cases may increase in late September. Public fatigue over mask regulations and other restrictions may trigger efforts to slow these infections.
A few weeks later, tensions began to rise in hospitals. If bad flu season occurs in October, as it did in 2009, pressure on the health care system may result in high daily deaths from coronoviruses. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield has said that the scenario is his biggest fear.
One certainty is that Jarad Neemi, a pathologist at Iowa State University, said the virus would still be around.
“We don’t have a vaccine yet and there won’t be enough infected people for herd immunity,” Nemi said.
Modeler Lauren Ensell Meyers of the University of Texas said the fall may seem like a roller coaster of stop-and-start restrictions, as communities climb hospital cases. Everyone should get a flu shot, she said, because if the flu spreads widely, hospitals will begin to stir and “that will reduce the risk of COVID.”
“The decision we make today will fundamentally affect the safety and feasibility that we can make next month and thanks,” Meyers said.
The virus was blamed for more than 180,000 deaths and 6 million confirmed cases worldwide in the US, with more than 25 million cases of deaths totaling about 850,000.
The US has been recording an average of 900 deaths a day since COVID-19, and newly confirmed infections per day are running about 42,000 less than their peak in mid-July, when more than 70,000 cases were reported.
Coronavirus in Oregon: Breaking news | Live map tracker |Text alert | News bulletin
Across the country, the chicken processing plant in California will close this week for deep cleaning, after nearly 400 workers became ill, including eight who died. And the college campus was hit by outbreaks of hundreds of students, in some cases blamed for too much partying. Schools including the University of North Carolina, Michigan State and Notre Dame have moved instruction online due to groups on their campuses.
Several vaccines are under advanced testing, and researchers expect the results to occur later this year. But even though a vaccine is declared safe and effective by the end of the year, some, as expected, will not be enough for everyone who wants it immediately.
Many companies are developing fast, in-house tests that can be used by families before a Thanksgiving gathering, but none have yet won approval.
More than 90 million adults are over 65 or have health problems, putting them at high risk of serious consequences if they are ill with a coronavirus. Many of them and their families are beginning to decide whether to book holiday flights.
44-year-old Cassie Docking, an urgent care nurse in Seattle, is telling her parents – both cancer survivors – that Thanksgiving will only happen by FaceTime.
“We all want to go in 2021,” he said, “and if it happens, that’s what we’ll do.”
Caitlin Joyce’s family is moving forward with a holiday feast. He plans to install plywood tables on the sawhorse in a large garage so that they can sit 6 feet apart.
“We’ll be in our coats and our sweaters,” said Joyce, 30, of Edmonds, Washington. “It will be almost like camp.”
A widely cited disease model projects US deaths with 2,086 thanks per day, which is double that of today.
“In our family we will not keep our extended family together. We will stick to the nuclear family, ”Dr. of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Said Christopher Murray, one of the few models predicted for November.
The uncertainty in Murray’s model is huge: daily deaths from thank-you can be as low as 1,500 or as high as 3,100. In a more optimistic scenario, daily deaths can range from 510 to 1,200 if almost everyone wears a mask. A more pessimistic scenario? 2,700 to 6,500 daily deaths if social removal rules continue and are not re-enforced.
With all the uncertainty, most disease models do not look very forward, at least not officially.
Jeffrey Shaman, a public health expert at Columbia University, believes the virus will spread more easily as the weather sweeps people out of the house: “But what level is a bump? It is difficult to say. “
At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the team of computer scientist Ronnie Rosenfeld uses machine learning to project COVID-19 deaths. The team’s computer algorithm learns from patterns found in state and county data to improve its forecasts.
A five-time winner of the CDC competition for predicting flu season activity, Rosenfeld believes the COVID-19 estimates of his model are not very useful beyond four weeks because they are beyond the wild card of human behavior, including government officials Huh.
“What happens a lot depends on us,” he said. “People, myself included, do not always behave rationally.” Presented with similar facts, “the same person may behave differently depending on how sick and tired they are.”
Like other disease modelers, Rosenfeld said that the virus would still be with us thanks to easily spreading to family gatherings. Although his plans may still change, he said he is going to visit his adult children with his wife. They will wear masks and maintain a safe distance during the journey.