It is estimated that 55 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s the highest level since the pandemic began and the third highest since AAA began tracking vacations in 2000.
At the same time, covid Cases continue to rise nationally, with the most recent 24-hour total at 111,386, According to John Hopkins. This is the largest number of new infections in a day since 12 August. Experts say that given the proliferation of at-home tests, the real number is likely to be much higher. In some areas of the country the numbers are even higher.
Overall, the 7-day average number of new cases nationally increased by 7% over the past two weeks, To new York Times. Test positivity has increased by 5% to 8.6% in the same period. But hotspots of infection abound.
Michigan’s 14-day average number of cases stands at 104%, according to the Times, while its test positivity rate sits at 11%. Arizona’s average daily cases are up 82% over the past two weeks. Its test positivity rate sits at a staggering 24%. The number of hospitalizations in the state has increased by 53% during the same period. For perspective, aside from the early days of the pandemic, the current positivity rate in Arizona is higher that it was ever in hard-hit California.
Speaking of which, according to the Times, the Golden State’s average daily number of positive cases has increased 48% in two weeks, while its average test positivity rate is 6%. California’s largest metropolis, home to one-quarter of the state’s population, is seeing rapid growth.
on Wednesday, los angeles County health officials reported 3,077 new Covid cases. This is the highest one-day number since mid-August during the heat wave. LA’s seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus has also reached 9.4% as of Wednesday. That’s up from 6.5% a week earlier, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The county is now averaging 1,971 new COVID infections per day over the past week, up 39% from the previous week.
The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID has exceeded 800 today, rising to 822, according to the latest state figures. This is up from 666 a week ago, a 23% increase in seven days.
Those trends don’t bode well for December Holidays,
Hospitalizations are of most concern to health officials, as the death rate increases when health facilities are overloaded. While the number of hospitalizations typically lags cases by about two weeks, there has already been a significant increase in COVID-related hospitalizations in Los Angeles. Cases are still rising, with hospitalizations expected to rise well into December.
There are other complicating factors as well.
The continued spread of flu and respiratory syncytial virus – or RSV – in the county, combined with COVID, is presenting a triple threat of respiratory illnesses, which will further strain health care facilities.
Then there are holiday gatherings and travel, which, by most accounts, will be more “normal” — i.e. without masks — this year. couple that with the rapid growth BQ1 and BQ1.1 typewhich have displaced the long-dominant BA.5 within a few weeks and now account for more than half of new cases in the region, and infections may continue to rise for some time.
One final wild card is China.
“China reported record high COVID-19 infections on Thursday, with cities imposing localized lockdowns, mass testing and other restrictions,” informed of Reuters.
Most countries have been affected by China’s so-called zero-covid policy. Whenever it decides to open up, there will be a large number of people who have never been infected who will be exposed to any newly-dominant variant. This, in turn, could lead to a wave of infection in the Middle Kingdom and, possibly, new variants arising in such large numbers.
City News Service contributed to this report.