Covid-19: already a third wave in the United States, “a diabolical staircase”

“Third wave”, “third wave”. The expression is now widely used in the United States, where a new contamination record was broken on Friday. Nearly 80,000 new cases have been recorded in twenty-four hours, bringing the total number of people infected to nearly 8.5 million since the start of the pandemic.

The country had not flirted with your levels since July. In the middle of the summer, the epidemic was especially packed in the South, in particular in Texas and Florida where the virus had become out of control. This time, the crisis is more general: 35 states out of 50 are experiencing an increase in the number of patients, with a more marked increase in the North and the Midwest.

Other indicators have turned scarlet red. “Coronavirus-related hospitalizations have increased in 38 states over the past week. The number of deaths nationwide has exceeded 1,000 in recent days, “reports the” Washington Post “. In Wisconsin, up to 90% of intensive care beds are now occupied by Covid-19 patients. A saturation that led the authorities to open a field hospital in a former exhibition center, near Milwaukee. The first patient was admitted there on Wednesday.

“We are going in the wrong direction”

“One of the main ways to overcome previous waves has been to transfer health workers. It is simply not possible when the virus is increasing everywhere, ”worries epidemiologist Eleanor J. Murray. The specialist, quoted by the Washington Post, notes that this third wave begins “much higher” than the previous ones.

Like her, Patrick Zylberman, professor emeritus of health history at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health, sees taking shape in the United States “a kind of diabolical staircase, with a first peak in April, a second in July and there, a third even higher ”.

A health disaster on which Caitlin Rivers, epidemiologist at Johns-Hopkins University, already alerted about ten days ago: “We are going in the wrong direction. The United States was already the most bereaved country in the world, with more than 220,000 deaths. According to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the toll could further double by the end of February and exceed 500,000 deaths.

“One of the problems is that nothing or almost nothing has been done nationally to contain the epidemic. Worse, President Trump spends his time knocking out his main health adviser, ”comments Patrick Zylberman, Also according to the IHME, if 95% of the population had worn the mask, up to 130,000 lives could have been saved.

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The United States is not the only country to see the emergence of a third wave. Iran is also in a similar situation. “In reality, what is happening across the Atlantic can also happen on a global scale. Because, for the moment, only a few Asian countries have really succeeded in protecting themselves from this virus, ”notes Patrick Zylberman.

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