Story at a glance

  • “We may be in for a very apocalyptic fall, I’m sorry to say,” Peter Hotez, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday.
  • Jeanne Marrazzo, the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, agreed with Hotez’s estimation that the coming months “could be apocalyptic.”
  • Health experts have been warning over several months that the U.S. could be overwhelmed by a “twindemic” of coronavirus and the seasonal flu.

As the United States approaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths and the seven-day average for new cases has been steadily rising, some top health experts are warning that the country could be headed into dangerous territory in the fall. 

“We may be in for a very apocalyptic fall, I’m sorry to say,” Peter Hotez, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday.


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“It's happening because we're forcing schools to reopen in areas of high transmission. We're forcing colleges to reopen, and we don't have the leadership nationally, telling people to wear masks and to social distance and do all the things we need to do. We still have that disinformation campaign coming out of the White House and it’s literally killing Americans,” Hotez said. 

Hotez noted that the U.S. recorded more than 66,000 new cases a day over the summer at the end of July and the beginning of August. He said cases began to fall as people “finally” started getting the message about masks and other health measures, but daily new infections are now creeping up to the 40,000 mark as fall approaches. 

Jeanne Marrazzo, the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, agreed with Hotez’s estimation that the coming months “could be apocalyptic.” 

Marazzo said there are several reasons why the U.S. is experiencing a rise in new infections. 

“One is that there is general fatigue. People are really tired of this,” she said. “And then the second thing is ... the completely contradictory messages that we're getting — not just the misinformation, but also the confusion about how things are spread."

Infectious diseases experts have been warning about a potential cold-weather surge of coronavirus cases that coincides with the flu season. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said earlier this month he would like to see new cases below 10,000 per day before the flu season kicks off in October. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield in August said the country could be in for “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,” as the likelihood of a possible “twindemic” of the coronavirus and seasonal flu could overwhelm hospitals and drain resources, threatening lives and the response to the pandemic. 


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Published on Sep 21, 2020