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Op-Ed: Over 3,000 people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. on Wednesday

Wednesday morning started out with a somber, and a dire warning from Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), when he took the virtual stage at a Chamber of Commerce Foundation meeting, according to the New York Times.

Talking about the next three months ahead of us, Dr. Redfield declared: “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”

Soon after those remarks, the numbers started coming in, and all through the day and on up to late last night, the U.S. broke all records for hospitalizations, new confirmed cases, and regrettably, deaths – all in a single span of 24 hours.

Quite frankly, I abhor the use of the expression “sets new record,” or “highest numbers yet,” when talking about this health crisis. It sounds like the country is in a race with other nations, and this is definitely not a contest, especially for the 100,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, or the nearly 274,000 people who have died. And I am not counting the thousands of family members who are directly affected by these numbers.

There has been a rise in cases across the U.S. over the last month. In the last two weeks that surge has been most acute in New Mexico, where the percentage of new cases has risen by 109 percent; Arizona, at 90 percent; and California, 75 percent, according to NBC News data.

“Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, said during a briefing.

A sign reminds people to wear face masks at an empty Grand Central Market in Los Angeles  California

A sign reminds people to wear face masks at an empty Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, California
Frederic J. BROWN, AFP

Heed the warnings
Human nature being what it is, I understand that people will refuse to do something that is good for them, even if it might end up killing them. And to be sure, it is not just a trait seen in Americans. Before Thanksgiving, the CDC recommended that families not travel for the holiday, and of course, millions did just that.

According to the CDC, we can expect a surge in new coronavirus cases a week to 10 days after this past weekend. Between now and the New Year, the CDC is again warning people to forego traveling, parties, and other holiday gatherings, and most important – the agency is pleading with people to WEAR A MASK.

The public health warnings has been issued and the signs all point to a devastating healthcare crisis looming ahead. It is time for all of us to put aside political leanings, pride, or anything else we use as an excuse to ignore this crisis and do what is right.

Dr. Redfield points out: “It’s not a fait accompli. We’re not defenseless. The truth is that mitigation works. But it’s not going to work if half of us do what we need to do. Probably not even if three-quarters do.”

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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