Accessibility links

Breaking News

CDC Warns of ‘Most Difficult Time’ for US Public Health

An EMT pauses while loading a stretcher back into an ambulance after dropping off a patient at a newly opened field hospital operated by Care New England for COVID-19 patients in Cranston, R.I, Dec. 1, 2020.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Wednesday of a bleak winter ahead as the country continues to see nationwide surges of COVID-19 cases.

"The reality is that December, January and February are going to be rough times," CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a livestream presentation hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. "I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."

Redfield said the current surge in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is worse than previous ones, noting the geographic scope and steeper trajectory of infection rates and deaths, as the U.S. is recording roughly 2,000 deaths from the virus daily.

Redfield also warned of the strain on hospitals across the country, which are running low on beds and overworked staff.

The U.S. topped 100,000 hospitalizations for the virus for the first time since the pandemic began Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking project.

While many Americans face “fatigue” following social-distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, Redfield urged people to adhere to these practices in the coming months.

Millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday last week, despite advice from health experts against flying and gathering in large groups indoors.

Also on Wednesday, the CDC said Americans should quarantine for 10 days after potential exposure to the virus, shortening the previous guideline of a 14-day quarantine.

The United States has recorded more than 273,000 deaths and more than 13.9 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus this year, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.