3M travellers, 172K daily cases: US’ wild Thanksgiving week is here

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By Nikhila Natarajan

New York–  Three million travellers screened already, an average of 172,000 new daily cases, 86,000 hospitalised patients. Americans are travelling like there’s no coronavirus pandemic, despite stark warnings from the country’s most touted scientists warning of dire consequences.

There were nearly 7,000 planes in the sky by noon on Tuesday; about 1 million Americans packed airports on Sunday, more than 3 million went through US airport checkpoints from Friday through Sunday.

Although these numbers are 50 per cent lower than the same time last year, it remains the biggest crowd surge since March this year when Covid-19 began killing Americans.

The US is averaging more than 1,500 deaths per day, swiftly approaching the worst peak since the early days of the virus surge, this summer.

Tuesday’s tally of 2,092 deaths is the highest the country has seen since May 6, when 2,611 deaths were reported.

The crowds are expected to grow through this week, and hospitals around the country are bracing for their worst Covid caregiving crisis yet.

Thanksgiving is likely to be the make or break week for America’s year end coronavirus response.

Next Sunday is likely to be the busiest day of the current week-long holiday spell, mixing a cocktail of shopping and travel at a time when doctors want Americans to simply hunker down and wait it out for the vaccines to arrive.

The first Covid-19 vaccines could prick the American arms as early as December 10, according to the US medical experts tracking the final sprint of three vaccine candidates, which have shown more than 90 per cent efficacy.

The head of the US coronavirus vaccine programme ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Moncef Slaoui has already said that all systems are ready to “ship vaccines to immunisation sites within 24 to 48 hours” of a vaccine being approved.

Doses are already being stockpiled, the US Centers for Disease Control has already released details about how the initial limited stocks will be allocated to priority groups.

By the early hours of Wednesday, nearly 12.6 million coronavirus cases and 259,000 fatalities have been reported since February in the US. (IANS)

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