Coronavirus surges nationwide with affects on hospitals, testing

Coronavirus
A patient is wheeled into Cobble Hill Health Center by emergency medical workers in Brooklyn

A patient is wheeled into Cobble Hill Health Center by emergency medical workers in Brooklyn on April 17, 2020. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

NEW YORK — The coronavirus is not just getting worse in the tri-state area, it’s exploding across the country. Hospitals are being pushed to the brink and there are long lines for testing.

“We have been worried for a long period of time now,” Chicago resident Luke Bakalar said. New COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in Illinois on Friday, as cases skyrocketed.

“We go for walks in our neighborhood and my 3-year-old and 5-year-old are masked up and I’d say 30, 40 percent of the people we pass on the street have masks on,” Bakalar said.

With almost 200,000 new cases a day nationwide, hospitals are filling up. Doctors and nurses are struggling to keep their patients alive.

The intensive care unit at Odessa Regional Medical Center in Texas was at capacity with COVID-19 patients.

“There was only a few times in the summer where we were really pushed to the extreme, but now, for the last few weeks, we are busting out of the seams,” Denise Mourning, an acute care nurse practitioner in Odessa said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, cases are dramatically rising in the Midwest and Upper Midwest.

Canada renewed its U.S. border closure for non-essential travel for another month.

And the demand for coronavirus testing nationwide continued. The companies that make the tests are trying to keep up with the demand.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the CDC has urged Americans not to travel.

“I like it to be, keep it to your immediate household, because if you say it can be 10, and it’s eight people from four different families, then that probably is not the same degree of safe as 10 people from your immediate household,” Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said.

Pfizer asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine Friday. If approved, the earliest roll out of the vaccine would be in December. Widespread availability is expected in the spring.

“It’s a very uncomfortable time and a very frustrating time. If everybody did their part, we would have been out of this hopefully long ago,” Bakalar said.

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