‘One of the biggest public health failings in the history of the US’

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Coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a stark warning on Tuesday to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, telling them he wouldn’t be surprised if the US sees new cases of coronavirus rising to a level of 100,000 a day. Fauci warns Congress that new US coronavirus cases could rise to 100,000 a day:

“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing on the pandemic on Tuesday.

Fauci expressed dismay over people congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and inadequate attention being paid to guidelines on reopening.

“We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there’s going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop,” he said.

Asked if the pandemic is under control, Fauci said, “I am not satisfied with what’s going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we’ve really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly,” adding, “Clearly we are not in total control right now.”

Fauci said that he can’t make an accurate prediction of the number of cases and deaths the US will see before the pandemic is over, but said, “It’s going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that.”

An equally dire warning was made by Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who is working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19. A Texas scientist says the state is facing a ‘humanitarian catastrophe,’ which will worsen without immediate and aggressive social distancing:

On Tuesday alone, 5,489 new cases were reported in Texas, which Governor Greg Abbott described as a “massive outbreak” and Dr. Peter Hotez, who is working on developing a COVID-19 vaccine, called “absolutely horrifying.”

Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told the Houston Chronicle he is “terribly upset” at the surge in coronavirus cases. He said some models had predicted this trend, which is why he “didn’t want Texas to open up as early it did.”

“We have to implement a significant level of social distancing, Now, we have no choice,” Hotez told the Chronicle. “We have to take action before the weekend. At the minimum, we must focus on the metropolitan areas: Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.”

Meanwhile, Hotez told ABC13 that Houston, which is located in hardest-hit Harris County, is on the verge of becoming the most impacted city in the country.

He reiterated that to the Chronicle, saying, “We are already reaching a dire health crisis in Houston, and it will only get worse.”

Citing modeling by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab, Hotez also told Bloomberg that Harris County is on track to tripe or quadruple its cases by mid-July, which would be “apocalyptic.”

Asked about Rep. Pete Olson of Texas calling the situation in Houston “damn scary,” Hotez replied, “I think the congressman has been reading my social media page. That unfortunately is the situation we may be in, unless we do something. The default plan if we don’t do anything is that the cases rise until we reach herd immunity. Those numbers would continue to rise vertically.”

According to Hotez, the situation in Houston, where state health data show that at least 15,266 people have tested positive for COVID-19, counts as a “red alert for coronavirus threat level.”

“Six months into this epidemic, and we’re basically to square one,” Hotez told the Chronicle.

Hotez told the BBC that Texas is facing a “humanitarian catastrophe” and underscored the need to act quickly to curb the severity of this public health crisis.

“Nationally, this is one of the biggest public health failings in the history of the US,” he told the Chronicle. “We have a vaccine that we are hoping to advance this time next year. This pandemic is not getting better on its own.”

In an interview on the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night, Dr. Hotez reiterated that “Texas is facing a humanitarian catastrophe.” Texas nears ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ with coronavirus rampant. This is also true for all the other states experiencing a massive COVID-19 surge, including Arizona, Florida, California, etc.

The United States is still in the initial wave of of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal was to contain the spread of the disease to get to the downside of the curve of infections so that it would be possible to safely reopen the economy in stages. This did not happen.

The economy was reopened too soon at the insistence of the White House, and now there is a massive surge of COVID-19 spreading like wildfire through community spread. We are on the precipice of an “apocalyptic” “humanitarian catastrophe.”

All of the medical experts have warned of an eventual “second wave” of COVID-19 this fall and winter, complicated by seasonal flu.

Wait … what fresh hell is this?

Huffington Post reports, New Flu Virus Found In Pigs In China Has Pandemic Potential, Say Researchers:

A new flu virus found in pigs in China has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential “pandemic virus,” a study said, although experts said there is no imminent threat.

Yeah, that’s what they said about COVID-19 last December. Color me skeptical.

A team of Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a “G4” strain of H1N1 that has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” according to the paper, published by the U.S. journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Pig farm workers also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, the authors said, adding that “close monitoring inhuman populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented.”

The study highlights the risks of viruses crossing the species barrier into humans, especially in densely populated regions in China, where millions live in close proximity to farms, breeding facilities, slaughterhouses and wet markets.

The PNAS study said pigs are considered important “mixing vessels” for the generation of pandemic influenza viruses and called for “systematic surveillance” of the problem.

China took action against an outbreak of avian H1N1 in 2009, restricting incoming flights from affected countries and putting tens of thousands of people into quarantine.

The new virus identified in the study is a recombination of the 2009 H1N1 variant and a once prevalent strain found in pigs.

But while it is capable of infecting humans, there is no imminent risk of a new pandemic, said Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington.

“There’s no evidence that G4 is circulating in humans, despite five years of extensive exposure,” he said on Twitter after the paper’s publication. “That’s the key context to keep in mind.”

Wait, didn’t this medical study say “Pig farm workers also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood”?  So it is in humans, it’s just not showing signs of jumping to community spread – yet.

Would China let the world know if a new H1N1 swine flu epidemic has broken out in that country with enough lead time to contain it and head off a global pandemic? Given China’s failures with respect to COVID-19, what reasons do we have to be confident that the world can deal with an H1N1 swine flu pandemic on top of a COVID-19 pandemic?

Just over two weeks ago, on June 16, Vice President Mike Pence, who is nominally the head of the Coronavirus Task Force, wrote an op-ed for Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal in which he extolled the “leadership of President Trump” and claimed that “our approach has been a success,” and asserted that “all 50 states have begun to reopen in a safe and responsible manner.” There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave’. In what world? This brown-nosing ass kisser has been a miserable failure at his job. He should resign or be fired.