A third surge of coronavirus infections has already firmly taken hold across much of the U.S. with the pandemic’s death toll recently reaching 300,000 deaths. And despite the rosy picture painted by Donald Trump and others who refuse to acknowledge the advice and warnings of the scientific community and medical experts, things are going to get worse. In some places, they already have.

As the cooler weather pushes more people to stay indoors where the virus spreads easier, infection rates and deaths will inevitably rise.

Here in the District, 50 new cases were reported on Oct.19, bringing the overall positive case total to 16,445 with 642 D.C. residents having lost their lives due to COVID-19.

Nationwide, cases are decreasing in just three states and the District according to the John Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center with cases level in Maryland and 14 other states. In comparison, Virginia counts among those states reporting a rise in positive cases, up 900 since Oct. 17 for a total of 166,138 and 3,433 COVID-19-linked death, also since Oct.17.

Over the past week in the U.S., there have been 421,114 new cases, confirming that the long-predicted fall wave of the virus is well underway. States in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains are struggling to control major outbreaks and many hospitals are almost full.

Taking a look at the situation worldwide, things look even worse. In the past week, seven countries — Argentina, Brazil, Britain, France, India, Russia and the U.S. — have reported at least 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, helping to push total cases worldwide to more than 40.7 million, according to a New York Times database.

The numbers are even higher than they were during the height of the pandemic in the spring when most countries initiated lock downs, stopped movement and limited interpersonal contact. And while some countries have employed more medically-supported strategies including increased testing and trace contact policies, the numbers continue to escalate.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, recently offered an ominous warning: With infections rising and compliance eroding, he said, “the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.”

This is the reality we face. This is the truth. As for the numbers that continue to rise each day in almost every state and territory in the U.S., it’s important to remember that every number represents a life that has been lost or impacted in ways that may remain with those infected for the rest of their lives.

Coronavirus has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer — bolting to its ominous position in short order — since February 2020 when the U.S. reported its first death from COVID-19.

The time has long passed for America’s leaders to feed the public with more lies, denials, unrealistic predictions and unfounded, empty promises of a swift return to the “good old days.”

We are in a fight for our lives and our nation’s future. We need leaders who realize this undeniable truth and have a universal plan that makes scientifically-based good sense.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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