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If the United States were my patient: We aren’t ready to celebrate yet

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
 

By Sanjay Gupta (original source CNN)

Back in the middle of May, I wrote an essay titled “If the United States were my patient,” pondering what it would be like if the United States were a flesh-and-blood person who had gotten sick with an ongoing infection.

Seven weeks later, as we approach the patient’s birthday — July 4th — I thought it would be a good time to check in and see how the patient’s doing.

It turns out the answer is: not well at all.

In fact, with daily infection rates breaking records on many days during the last couple of weeks, we are arguably worse off today than at any point earlier in the pandemic. Consider: This week, 15 states saw their highest seven-day averages, and the country is seeing around 50,000 new cases a day. We have less than 5% of the global population, but about 25% of coronavirus cases and deaths. Several states, including Texas and Arizona, are on the verge of having recently infected patients overwhelm hospital capacity.

I really thought that we’d be having a different conversation in the country at this point; I thought that along with the fireworks, we’d be celebrating the progress we’ve made so far. Instead, I have to say to the patient, “The infection has returned with a vengeance. It has spread and risks tipping out of control in some parts of your body.”

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