U.S. tops 13 million COVID-19 cases, experts fear holiday “surge upon surge upon surge”

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(CBS) – The United States reported more than 205,000 new COVID-19 cases and 1,400 deaths on Friday as the number of confirmed infections in the country soared past 13 million. 

More than 30 states saw increases in new daily COVID-19 cases before the Thanksgiving holiday, leading experts to fear a post-holiday surge that could be compounded by the rest of the holiday season.

“We will not get a reprieve because then Christmas comes and then New Year comes,” Rush University Medical Center’s Dr. Meeta Shah said. “So, if we’re just stacking surge upon surge upon surge, I am significantly worried about that.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday in an attempt to fast track a potential coronavirus vaccine, while big cities like Los Angeles attempt to slow the spread of the virus with new lockdown orders.

Spiraling cases put more than 90,000 people in the hospital even before holiday shopping began. However, as CBS News’ Michael George reports, stories from people struggling to stay alive are still not deterring holiday shoppers and gatherings, or giving healthcare workers a break.

“It’s really frightening. I thought an asthma attack was frightening,” 66-year-old COVID-19 survivor Shelly Dunn recalled.

Dunn considers herself lucky she still has the ability to talk.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, officials are getting pushback from the Nurses’ Association after it decided to allow nurses who test positive to work.

“It is a mixed message to the public to allow asymptomatic COVID-positive nurses, physicians, and other healthcare workers to work,” Jane Nelson of the Oklahoma Nurses Association said.

Nationwide, officials have urged caution. Vermont Governor Phil Scott told residents of his state that social gatherings have consequences.

“If you are going to have a gathering with households outside of your household… you shouldn’t send your kids to school next week and that you should quarantine your kids for at least seven days, get a test,” Scott warned his constituents in a press conference.

Los Angeles County banned public and private gatherings for anyone outside a household, though religious services and protests can take place because they are protected by the Constitution, thanks to a recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling.

San Antonio, Texas’ attempt to slow the virus’ spread with a 10 p.m. curfew has been disparaged by some in the service industry. 

Bar owner Greg Barrinau called the measure “nonsense.”

“It is not fair to the citizens of San Antonio,” he said. “They are grown adults. They can make their own decision on if they gather and how they gather.”  

With nearly 265,000 Americans dead due to the coronavirus so far, experts fear a post-Thanksgiving surge is just the beginning.

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