Joe Biden’s coronavirus adviser has backed a nationwide six-week lockdown to tackle the spread of coronavirus as the daily infection rate in the US reached a harrowing new record of more than 145,000.
On Wednesday, as the number of new cases hit the devastating figure, Dr Michael Osterholm, an adviser to the president-elect, said the US was headed toward “COVID hell”, The Sun reports.
Dr Osterholm, director of the Centre of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said shutting down businesses and paying people for four to six weeks could help control the widespread deadly virus.
He told Yahoo Finance a total lockdown of the country would eventually help get the economy on track until a vaccine was ready.
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments.
“We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four to six weeks.”
Dr Osterhold said a lockdown would help get coronavirus under control, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia”.
“We could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that.”
He acknowledged that people are tired of wearing masks, socially distancing from one another, and now have “pandemic fatigue”.
On Wednesday, 145,835 new virus infections were reported in the country, according to The Washington Post.
More than 10.7 million people in the United States have been infected since the pandemic began.
Over 247,000 virus-related deaths have also been reported.
On Tuesday, another grim record was reached – 61,964 people were admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
Within the first 10 days of November alone, over one million new cases have been reported in the country.
However, despite the surging infection rate, experts believe the nation may be better equipped to deal with the virus this time around.
Harvard infectious disease researcher William Hanage said when it comes to combating COVID: “We’re definitely in a better place.”
Meanwhile on Monday, Pfizer announced its COVID vaccine was looking to be 90 per cent effective based on early test results.
The company is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
However, authorities have stressed that it’s unlikely a vaccine will be rolled out before the end of the year and the limited initial supplies will be rationed.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bars, gyms and restaurants would have to close at 10pm beginning on Friday to try to stop another surge in the state.
And in Texas, coronavirus cases have exceeded one million.
“These are dark times,” Ogechika Alozie, chief medical officer at El Paso’s Del Sol Medical Center, told CNN on Wednesday.
“I think the biggest word is just fatigue. And there’s frustration.”
On Monday, Mr Biden again pleaded for Americans to wear face coverings.
He said: “A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start putting the country together.”
This article first appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission