CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield on Wednesday sounded the alarm on the next few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he warned will be among “the most difficult in the public health history of this nation.”
During an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Redfield noted that about 90% of hospitals in the country are in “hot zones and the red zones” and that 90% of long-term care facilities are in areas with high levels of COVID-19 infections.
“So we are at a very critical time right now about being able to maintain the resilience of our health-care system,” Redfield said.
Redfield issued a dire warning heading into the next few months, citing the strain on medical facilities in light of surging COVID-19 cases throughout the country.
“The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times,” Redfield said. “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health-care system.”
Redfield acknowledged the alarming rate of COVID-19 fatalities by noting that the country is reporting between 1,500 and 2,500 deaths from the novel coronavirus daily.
“The mortality concerns are real,” Redfield said. “And I do think unfortunately, before we see February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans [that] have died from this virus.”
Redfield later stressed that COVID-19 largely spreads through people who are asymptomatic, or spreads prior to patients developing symptoms, which presents challenges to controlling what he described as “the silent epidemic” without testing broadly throughout the population.
Redfield added that the CDC is developing guidance for institutions and workplaces to assist them in strategically deploying testing.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, Redfield expects that the public will need to adhere to mitigation measures in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 well into next year. The CDC director doesn’t expect the country to return to holding large gatherings until fall of 2021.
Watch Redfield’s remarks below: