PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Coronavirus cases are surging across the country, including here in Pennsylvania.
“It is concerning and also a bit expected,” says Dr. Sunjay Mannan of Allegheny Health Network Family Medicine.
“This is not as bad as some feared, but it’s clearly more than what we’ve seen before,” said Dr. Donald Yealy of UPMC.
Cases are increasing in 47 states, and the U.S. has recorded a new record high of 80,000 new cases a day.
“The weather gets cold, people go further indoors,” Dr. Mannan said. “Restrictions are starting to be lifted. People are getting tired of the COVID life.”
Average coronavirus deaths per day are up 10 percent over the last two weeks, and this could increase as flu season is just beginning.
“If you have a 10-bed ICU and flu, generally, takes up five to six beds, and six beds with COVID come in, you have people who could potentially pass away because there is no bed for them,” Dr. Mannan said.
Also, cases in children are up 14 percent over the past two weeks. Kids make up 11 percent of all cases.
“Schools are still reopening so I think that explains why the numbers are going up,” said Dr. Mannan. “They can be a silent vector of the disease.”
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Dr. Yealy said a fall spike was expected with a return to school and other activities. He said it is crucial to continue wearing a mask and keeping your distance from others.
“I think you should be concerned about it, but that concern should be a motivator, not a paralyzer. By that I mean motivate you to do the simple things,” said Dr. Yealy.
Among health care workers, nurses are at high risk. The CDC says among hospitalized health care workers in the spring, more than one-third were nurses or nursing assistants.
“Nurses are the heart and the hands. They run towards the fire,” Dr. Mannan says. “They have their own families to think about, too, to keep them safe.”
In some states, especially in the northern midwest, because of sick health care workers, staffing has been a challenge. Overwhelmed hospitals might have to limit some services or call for reinforcements from the government.