10 Signs the Pandemic Is About to Get Much Worse
New Covid-19 infections are accelerating, portending a deadly fall and winter
The pace of new Covid-19 infections is accelerating at exactly the wrong moment in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, alarming scientists who envision a winter of coronavirus carnage — physical, mental, and economic — unlike anything we’ve seen so far. In America, daily new infections are surging, which could lead to an inevitable peak that will exceed the highs seen in the spring and summer, all exacerbated by the effects of colder weather.
“We face rapidly accelerating increase in Covid-19 cases across much of Europe, the USA, and many other countries across the world,” according to an October 14 open letter published in The Lancet journal and signed initially by about 80 of the top infectious-disease experts in the United States and around the world, and hundreds more since. “It is critical to act decisively and urgently.”
Most frustrating for infectious-disease experts: It all could have been prevented. “We should have had this virus under control already,” says Michael Mina, MD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We have spectacularly continued to squander any effort in the time that we’ve had.”
“The great concern here is that we are once again at the tipping point of exponential growth of Covid-19 in the U.S. and this time coinciding with the predictable return of the flu season.”
Given that the coronavirus is airborne, scientists stress that every individual effort at mask-wearing and distancing helps keep the pandemic from getting even worse. But they say the outlook is grim for health and the economy if governments don’t quickly launch strong, well-funded efforts to control community spread.