“It will not surprise me if in the next weeks we see over 200,000 new cases a day,” he added.
The country’s seven-day average of new daily cases was 119,238 on Monday — more than three times higher than it was around mid-September, when it was at a post-summer-surge low.
COVID Tracking Project.
That’s the country’s highest total number since July 25, and not far from the nation’s pandemic peak of 59,940 set on April 15.
And as more people are infected and more are hospitalized, more American deaths will likely be recorded daily. Last week saw five days in a row with more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths — the first time that’s happened since August.
Johns Hopkins University. Another 110,000 or more deaths are
projected in the next two months, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Antibody treatment given emergency approval
Covid-19 vaccine candidate appeared promising, the Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it has given emergency approval for a treatment.
Eli Lilly and Co.’s monoclonal antibody therapy to treat mild to moderate coronavirus infections in adults and children.
The single antibody treatment, called bamlanivimab, must be infused in a hospital or other health care setting. It is the first monoclonal antibody to be authorized for use in treating coronavirus. The idea is to kick-start an immune response against infection.
“Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody that is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells,” the FDA said in a statement.
The emergency authorization “provides health care professionals on the frontline of this pandemic with another potential tool in treating Covid-19 patients,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the statement. “We will continue to evaluate new data on the safety and efficacy of bamlanivimab as they become available.”
New England Journal of Medicine in October. It found the treatment seemed to lower the risk of hospitalization and ease some symptoms in a small number of patients with mild to moderate cases of Covid-19.
Case rates rising in every state
As of Monday, all 50 states had accumulated more new cases in the last week than they did in the week before that. Forty-four of those states saw increases of at least 10%, according to Johns Hopkins data.
In Nebraska, the governor has announced new mitigation measures that will take effect Wednesday, including keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between parties in gyms, restaurants, weddings, indoor gatherings and places of worship. Masks will also be required for both staff and patrons at establishments, including salons, barbershops and bowling alleys and other indoor businesses where staff and patrons are within six feet of each other for 15 minutes or more.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday the state was facing “significant danger” from the virus, with 80 counties in the “red zone as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase rapidly.”
test-positivity rate of nearly 7.5% on Monday, the governor’s office said, was the state’s highest since May 5.
“We are clearly at the worst place we have been for this disease,” Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said in a news release. “It took us almost 15 weeks from the start of this pandemic in Kentucky just to get to the number of cases we had last week alone.”
Hospitals at ‘brink’ of hitting capacity
The rising numbers have begun taking their toll on American communities.
In Texas, the hard-hit county of El Paso has six mobile morgues and has asked for four more trailers, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said Monday. That comes as the state nears a million infections since the pandemic’s start.
In Ohio, all parts of the state are affected by an “unprecedented spike” in hospitalized patients, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the incoming chief medical officer for the state’s health department.
“Every county in the state is feeling the brunt of rising Covid-19 hospitalizations,” Vanderhoff said. “If we don’t control the spread of the virus and our case numbers, we won’t be able to continue caring for the acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent care.”
And among the issues that are concerning officials — not just in Ohio, but across the nation — are the strained and exhausted staff that are taking care of the surging number of patients.
“We’re exhausting the available supply of trained personnel,” Vanderhoff said. “They can’t escape the rising numbers of Covid-19 numbers in their communities.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the state’s hospital capacity is shrinking and went on to declare a state of emergency and a statewide mask mandate Monday.
“They are really at the brink of not being able to take any more people … particularly in our intensive care units,” the governor said Monday, speaking on the state’s shrinking hospital capacity. “We just don’t have rooms that have got doctors and nurses that can provide the health care.”
Fauci: Vaccine could be ‘right around the corner’
drugmaker Pfizer announced its Covid-19 vaccine appears to be more than 90% effective, based on early data.
The results could mean a vaccine is “right around the corner” for the American people, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Monday.
It’s still unclear how long Pfizer’s vaccine will offer protection against the virus, Dr. John Burkhardt, Pfizer’s vice president of Global Drug Safety Research and Development, explained Monday, and the company will continue learning more about that timeline as the clinical trial continues.
Pfizer will follow volunteers in the clinical trials for two years “with an emphasis on safety,” Burkhardt added, while the company will also collect other types of data.
Fauci said it’s likely that once the vaccine is authorized for emergency use, people will be receiving doses before the end of this year.
But the distribution of the company’s two-dose vaccine will be a “logistical challenge,” Burkhardt said, as the shot needs to be stored in extremely low temperatures, far below the capacity of standard freezers.
“There’s a whole suite of very experienced and talented people at Pfizer who are solely working on this, an army of people, and so it’s going to be important to work with the authorities with state governments and others to provide that supply chain,” he said.
CNN’s Maggie Fox, Jen Christensen, Kay Jones, Jason Hanna, Raja Razek, Shelby Lin Erdman, Joe Sutton and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.