There was a concerted effort in play by some members of the White House coronavirus task force Sunday to warn Americans to be vigilant in efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Their messages sounded familiar – expect a surge in coronavirus cases due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams was interviewed on Fox News Sunday. He noted that cases had begun to plateau before Thanksgiving in some areas where states “aggressively mitigated” the virus.
“I want to be straight with the American people, it’s going to get worse over the next several weeks, but the actions that we take in the next several days will determine how bad it is or whether or not we continue to flatten our curve,” Adams told guest host Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Right before Thanksgiving, we actually saw cases start to plateau in many states that had been aggressively mitigating,” he added.
The good news is that a couple of vaccines will soon be available. Pfizer is set to submit its emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 10. Moderna is following suit on Dec. 18. The bad news is that the process of everyone receiving a vaccine will take months. The vaccines will first go to the most vulnerable – the elderly and health care workers. Everyone should continue to wear a face mask, hand washing, and social distancing in order to protect themselves and those around them until everyone is vaccinated.
Adams expressed optimism about the new vaccines but voiced regrets that the pandemic happened on top of a presidential campaign. The politicization of the pandemic doesn’t help get the message out now that people will be able to be vaccinated. Democrats like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have sounded more like anti-vaxxers than responsible leaders, claiming that the vaccine process was too rushed to be safe. Instead of giving credit to the Trump administration’s work through Operation Warp Speed, they accused him of trying to score political points before the election. Their personal dislike of Trump overshadowed common sense. Now a big public service announcement campaign will need to be put together to reverse unnecessary suspicions about the safety of the vaccines and encourage everyone to get the vaccine.
Dr. Fauci was interviewed on ABC’s This Week. He said there will “almost certainly” be a surge in new cases due to holiday travel and gatherings. He said that what’s done is done and now people should get tested when they return home.
“Having said that, we have to be careful now because there almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel,” Fauci said. “We understand the importance of families getting together. And it’s just something that we have to deal with that we likely will have an increase in cases, as we get into the colder weeks of the winter, and as we approach the Christmas season.”
Dr. Fauci urged travelers to be safe when returning home from holiday travels, encouraging them to quarantine if possible and to get tested.
As the Surgeon General, he is optimistic about the vaccines and their effectiveness. He, too, said the most vulnerable population and health professionals will be a top priority. Addressing the anti-vax messages from many in the Democrat Party, he gave assurances that they are scientifically sound. Shouldn’t the people who always scold others about following the science do the same with the vaccines? That’s a rhetorical question.
“The process of the development of this vaccine has been one that has been scientifically sound. safety has not been compromised, scientific integrity has not been compromised and the process of determining whether it works, whether it’s safe and effective has been independent by independent bodies and transparent,” said Fauci. “We’ve got to get the community, the broad community of the United States to see that and appreciate that.”
Yes, the task force members are determined to be Christmas grinches, too. Fauci said he doesn’t see any relaxation of the CDC’s restrictions any time soon. He told guest host Martha Raddatz that he expects “surge upon a surge” because of the holiday season.
“I can’t see how we’re not gonna have the same thing because when you have the kind of infection that we have, it doesn’t all of a sudden turn around like that,” said Fauci. “So clearly in the next few weeks, we’re gonna have the same sort of thing and perhaps even two or three weeks down the line. Martha we may see a surge upon a surge.”
Dr. Birx was interviewed by Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation. She is “very worried” about a post-Thanksgiving surge.
“If you look at the second wave going into the Memorial Day weekend, we had less than 25,000 cases a day. We had only 30,000 inpatients in the hospital, and we had way less mortality, way under 1,000,” Birx said on Sunday. “We’re entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four, and 10 times as much disease across the country. And so that’s what worries us the most. We saw what happened post-Memorial Day.”
“Now, we are deeply worried about what could happen post-Thanksgiving because the number of cases, 25,000 versus 180,000 a day — that’s why we are deeply concerned,” Birx said. “And as you described, it looked like things were starting to improve in our Northern Plains states. And now, with Thanksgiving, we’re worried that all of that will be reversed.”
White House testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir’s message on CNN’s State of the Union was that testing alone isn’t enough. He reminded everyone that the same mitigation measures we’ve been doing since we were first trying to flatten the curb almost nine months ago still apply today, even with vaccines on the way.
“Unless we can control the viral spread, by doing the things like wearing a mask, avoiding indoor crowded spaces, you cannot test your way out of this,” he said.
“It’s gotta be the smart policies and universal mask wearing, … avoidance of those spaces with testing is how we get out of the pandemic,” Giroir said. “Testing alone will never solve this issue. You got to have both.”
President Trump’s testing czar expressed confidence in vaccine development efforts, saying the U.S. should be able to administer the vaccine to 20 million Americans by the end of this year.
“We should have enough vaccine by the end of the year to immunize 20 million Americans and we have to immunize for impact,” says Adm. Brett Giroir, WH testing czar. "But the American people have to do the right things until we get that vaccine widely distributed" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/StNFeP28Pj
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 29, 2020
The pandemic will eventually end with the wide distribution of the vaccines. Until everyone is vaccinated, the message is that social distancing and protecting ourselves and others as best as we can until then is how we get through the surges that will likely come during the holiday season.