As the coronavirus pandemic resurges across most of the US, infection rates are jumping up in those states that seemed to all but dodged the bullet earlier in the year.
As most states have recently seen a significant surge in COVID-19 infection numbers, many wonder why now? Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota offers a few theories on this.
Osterholm’s take is that multiple factors are converging at once and creating a sudden surge in numbers. He also adds that he feels that the next twelve weeks will prove to be the pandemic's darkest hours to date.
One contributing factor is that of what he terms "pandemic fatigue." This term is a belief by most people that in April and May, they followed the guidelines and took the steps necessary in a genuine effort to keep from contracting COVID-19. Now, being that they didn't get infected, many of those same individuals have the mindset that they have sufficiently dodged the bullet and say they are done with the virus even if the virus is not done with me.
Then there are those that Osterholm characterizes and terms as having "pandemic anger." They do not believe the pandemic itself is real and will even voice their view that it is a hoax based on political motivations.
Both of these factors, coupled with more and more of the population gathering indoors, where we know the virus is more easily transmitted, you can see that we have the makings for the “perfect storm.”
Many don’t realize, and if they do, they don't believe that those gatherings such as funerals, weddings, reunions, and governmental meetings, and now most recently in the newly reopened bars and restaurants, all contributing to the widespread transmission of the coronavirus.
With all these factors added together, Osterholm says he doesn't see anything unless the US population makes a targeted effort that will slow down the current surges. In fact, he feels that at the rate the numbers are climbing, between now and the new year, we are going to see some of the largest numbers of infection to date.
Osterholm says that when he says we are looking to see the "darkest days" yet of this pandemic, he is referring to the drastic increase in infection numbers and the inability for hospitals to take on the predicted increases in patients.
Not only could there be a shortage in beds and ventilators, but there is also the problem of the fact that the nation is running out of those individuals with the expertise needed to battle the virus.
Due to the possible shortages in equipment and workforce, the American public needs to prepare themselves for the dark times to come and prepare themselves for the inevitable increase in the number of deaths related to COVID-19.
This holiday season will not be the same as those of past years, and as such, the public needs to take stock in the fact that by doing the usual holiday visiting, they may very well carry the virus with them or contract the virus during the visit.
Are the darkest days of this ongoing pandemic still to come?