The US inched closer to 5 million cases of Covid-19 on Saturday as experts warned the country is still not doing enough to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“We need to take ownership of this and implement a federal plan by which we bring every state to containment by October,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and Dean of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, adding that some states have been able to do that already.
“But other parts of the country have a lot of work to do,” Hotez told CNN Saturday.
On Saturday, the California Department of Health reported 7,371 new cases and the Florida Department of Health reported more than 8,400 cases. Health officials in Texas said the state’s seven-day Covid-19 test positivity rate had risen to 19.41% — the highest seven-day average since the pandemic began.
“The point is,” Hotez said, “it’s all doable if we have leadership at the White House that tells us we need to do this.”
The US had more than 4.9 million confirmed cases as of Saturday evening, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
More than 162,000 people have died as a result of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. But health experts have predicted the national death toll will get worse through the year, and many have called for a stronger national leadership against the virus.
One model from the Institute of Health and Metric Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington projects nearly 300,000 deaths in the US by December 1.
Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of IHME, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday that Americans are still moving around too much to adequately slow the spread of the virus.
“If you look at the mobility data collected from cell phones in many parts of the country, we’re almost back to pre-Covid levels of mobility, so we’re just not being as cautious as other people are in other countries,” Murray said.
There is encouraging news: Murray said Friday that the rate of mask use in the US has gone up about 5% in the last 10 days, particularly in states with higher caseloads, like California, Texas and Florida.