A medical technician at a testing center, Houston, Texas, July 7, (Callaghan O’Hare/Reuters)
The US sets daily records for Coronavirus deaths and cases.
President Joe Biden calls for 100 days of mask wearing to curb the pandemic. Donald Trump says nothing, as he persists with disinformation about a “RIGGED ELECTION”.
The US death toll reached 276,316, with Johns Hopkins University recording 2,804 fatalities and The New York Times reported 2,857 in 24 hours.
Confirmed cases are 14,139,703, a record increase of 218,329 and a jump from 13 million to 14 million came in only six days. There are 100,667 hospitalizations, with 19,442 patients in intensive care.
Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had warned on Wednesday that the winter is “going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation”, and that deaths could reach 450,000 by February 1.
Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University, said yesterday: “By this time next week, we are going to be talking about 3,000 deaths a day – that’s 9/11 every single day.”
In an interview alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Biden confirmed that he would call on all Americans to wear masks in public spaces, for 100 days after his inauguration on January 20.
It’s important that the President and the Vice President, we set the pattern by wearing masks, but beyond that, where the federal government has authority I’m going to issue a standing order that in federal buildings you have to be masked, and on interstate transportation you must be masked, on airplanes and buses, etc.
I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask, just 100 days, not forever…and I think we’ll see a significant reduction that occurs, with vaccinations and masking, to drive down the numbers considerably.
Biden also said he would join three of his Presidential predecessors — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — in receiving the Coronavirus vaccine, seeking to reassure the public about safety and efficacy.
The President-elect confirmed that he will ask the Government’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to remain at the National Institutes of Health and to serve as his chief medical advisor.
Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx had been sidelined and insulted by Donald Trump as he turned to Dr. Scott Atlas, who has no experience in epidemiology or virology and promotes “herd immunity” through the spread of the virus.
But Biden linked his confidence in experts and the vaccine:
When Dr Fauci says we have a vaccine and it’s safe, that’s the moment at which I will stand before the public….Part of what’s happened is that people have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work….It matters what a President and a Vice President do.
Trump, who has repeatedly dismissed the threat of the virus and derided containment measures, spent much of the day on Twitter. He presented an award to football coach Lou Holtz, but did not mention the pandemic in an exchange with reporters.
In contrast, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced stricter measures as the surge of the virus threatens to overwhelm hospitals.
Newsom said regional stay-at-home orders will take effect when hospitals pass 85% of capacity in intensive care units. The state’s capacity is currently 77%.
The three-week restrictions will strictly limit store capacity and allow restaurants to serve only takeout or delivery meals. Newsom said people should temporarily postpone all non-essential travel.
“If we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said. “If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see our death rate climb.”
California leads the US with almost 1.3 million cases. Its 19,594 deaths is third behind New York and Texas.
Delaware Gov. John Carney issued a stay-at-home advisory asking people not to gather indoors with anyone outside their household. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered a three-week shutdown closing casinos and cinemas and suspending in-person high school and college classes. Oregon, Washington State, Minnesota, and cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia have also reimposed restrictions.