On top of all this, last week’s Capitol Building riot is expected to be a“Covid-19 super-spreader event” by public health officials across the nation. After all, this was an event where thousands of people gathered together ignoring two key virus preventing measures — wearing face masks and maintaining social distance.
Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, told ABC News,
“I am very concerned. Rioters were in very close proximity for long periods of time, shouting, and exposed to chemical irritants, leading to coughing. Many of them were unmasked. These are all conditions that are very conducive to (COVID-19) transmission."
CDC director Robert Redfield shared very similar views on possible consequences of the Capital riot. In an interview with McClatchy, he said,
“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol.”
He then noted how these people could have already spread the virus.
“These individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country. So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading event. This is an event that is going to have public health consequences."
Redfield expects these challenging pandemic times to grow still worse, with the case numbers going further up despite the rollout of vaccines.
"We haven't hit the peak of the current surge. Clearly, the amount of mortality we're seeing, as many of us are trying to stress, is more than we saw on Pearl Harbor or 9/11, over and over and over again. That's the state of the pandemic, unfortunately, we're at right now."
According to Redfield, the biggest and most immediate cause of the current surge in Covid-19 were the many indoor gatherings of unmasked people during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
So when can we expect to turn a corner and finally see a decline in cases? When can we expect things to finally get better?
Redfield believes the graph will go still higher before the daily death rate begins to drop.
“We're going to continue to see mortality in the 2,500-5,000 a day range. This is going to continue to get worse through January, and probably parts of February before we really start to turn the corner”says Redfield.