U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Passes 130,000 Amid Surge in Cases
The grim news comes amidst a surge in U.S. cases. More than 50,000 new cases a day were reported several times over the past week, The New York Times pointed out. And the country still has the world's worst outbreak with nearly three million cases, double the world's second-highest caseload in Brazil, Reuters reported.
In an interview streamed Monday with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. had never successfully exited the first wave of the pandemic.
"I would say this would not be considered a wave," Dr. Fauci said, as The New York Times reported. "It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline that really never got down to where we wanted to go."
https://t.co/MjUNsLdMXN— NIH (@NIH)1594060307.0
In the interview, Fauci said the surge could perhaps be attributed to cities and states reopening too soon.
"The European Union as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline," Fauci said, according to USA TODAY. "Now they're having little blips, as you might expect, as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it's surging back up. So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately."
At least 32 states are reporting higher rates of new cases this week compared to last, according to Johns Hopkins data reported by USA TODAY.
The states where cases are rising are mostly in the West and South, according to Reuters, while cases continue to fall in the Northeast.
Arizona surpassed 100,000 cases Monday, according to New York Times data, and cases there have doubled in the past two and a half weeks. Both Idaho and Texas broke records for the most new cases reported in a single day Monday, at more than 400 and more than 8,800 new cases respectively.
"The situation is that we are experiencing rampant community spread," chief Dallas County elected official Clay Jenkins tweeted.
.@DCHHS reports 1,062 cases. Today we are fortunate to report no new deaths; however, we do have over 1,000 new cas… https://t.co/FMefsIWFx6— Clay Jenkins (@Clay Jenkins)1593983553.0
Despite Monday's grim milestone of 130,000 deaths, the rate of increase of deaths in the country has continued to decline, Reuters reported. However, a surge in deaths can come weeks or even months after a surge in cases, public health experts said. And at least five states have seen their death rates rise, including Arizona, which reported 449 deaths in the last two weeks of June compared to 259 in the first two weeks. As of July 3, intensive care units in the state were at 91 percent capacity, an all-time high, The Associated Press reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that the U.S. death toll will climb to between 140,000 and 160,000 by July 25, according to Reuters. It further projects that deaths will rise in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
The surge in cases has drawn critical attention to President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis. Throughout the pandemic, he has made misleading statements about the risks of the new disease and the effectiveness of various treatments. During a speech on the Fourth of July, he said that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases were "totally harmless," as USA TODAY reported.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the president out for the statement on Monday.
"He is facilitating the virus," Cuomo said, as The Hill reported. "He is enabling the virus by statements like that. And you're seeing the infection rate go up, and you're seeing the economy suffer, and he is part of that current debacle that we are in."
To fight the surge in cases, Fauci urged Americans to keep up the social distancing, since new outbreaks had been linked to large indoor gatherings.
"Avoid crowds," he said, as The New York Times reported. "If you're going to have a social function, maybe a single couple or two — do it outside if you're going to do it. Those are fundamental, and everybody can do that right now."
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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