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Expert says next couple of months could be very challenging as U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 12 mln

Expert says the next couple of months could be very challenging for the United States as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 12 million on Saturday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. COVID-19 case count rose to 12,019,960, with a total of 255,414 deaths, as of 15:27 Eastern Standard Time (EST), according to the CSSE tally.

Texas reported the country’s most cases, standing at 1,117,583, followed by California with 1,098,061 cases, and Florida with 923,418 cases. Illinois registered 646,286 cases and New York confirmed 584,850 cases.

Other states with over 300,000 cases include Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the CSSE data showed.

By far, the United States remains the nation worst hit by the pandemic, with the world’s most cases and deaths, making up more than 20 percent of the global caseload.

U.S. COVID-19 cases hit 10 million on November 9, and increased by one million within a week. Starting from November 3, the numbers of U.S. daily cases have been surging above the threshold of 100,000, which has never been seen in past months.

On Friday, a total of 195,542 new cases were identified across the country, marking the highest daily rise in new cases since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Dennis Carroll, the senior advisor for global health security at University Research Co., LLC (URC), says the country is likely to see deteriorating conditions as they are on the brink of the season for respiratory viruses.

“I think we will continue to look at increasingly even more favorable conditions for the virus as again we move further into the cold season. You know the peak transmission for respiratory viruses like influenza are really December and January. So the coming months, we are only at the beginning of what you would consider a season for respiratory viruses. So we’re at the very beginning of it right now, so the next couple of months can be very, very, very challenging,” he said.

In a scientific brief updated on November 20, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted masks are intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets, especially for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers, who are estimated to account for more than 50 percent of transmissions.

As Thanksgiving approaches, the CDC released guidance on holiday celebrations. Given the high risks of exposure to the coronavirus through travel and gathering, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people one lives with, according to the guidance.

Gatherings with family members and friends who live in other locations can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu, the agency warned.

Some experts recommended alternative holiday plans, including outdoor gathering, virtual dinner party, online shopping and watching parades, sports events from home.

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