First, 85-year-old Theresa Pirozzi’s father became ill and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Days later, her mother was so weak that she could barely walk. Now, instead of getting ready for Christmas, Pirozzi is anxiously awaiting updates from the hospital where both her parents are in intensive care with the coronavirus.
“I don’t put up decorations here. It’s just not right, right now, ”said Pirozzi from her parents’ home in Oak Park, California. “I’m physically ill from anxiety.”
The couple is a symbol of the crisis deepening at an alarming rate in California, where hospitals are being stretched to their limits as the virus spreads across the state. Nearly 17,000 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections as of Friday and a state model that uses conventional data to predict future trends shows that the number could reach 75,000 infertility before mid-January.
With more than 48,000 new cases in California leading the way, the United States shipped a total of 249,709 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins University. A further 2,814 people died nationwide, pushing the death toll to more than 313,000.
Texas, Florida, New York and Tennessee have recorded more than 10,400 new cases each. Over the past two weeks, the seven-day follow-up average for new cases in the U.S. jumped to 219,324 per day from 183,787, an increase of almost 20%.
Things were picking up before Thanksgiving Day, and holiday gatherings took them even higher. Health officials now fear the increase will only get worse at Christmas and New Year. In many places, health officials say, people are tired of wearing a face mask and staying away from others just disregarding suggested measures.
While federal regulators have approved two vaccines to combat the disease and doses have been given to thousands of people, mostly health care workers, widespread vaccines for the public are not expected before spring.
Several states have reported that the federal government has told them that next week the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be less than originally expected. The Army General in charge of COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S. apologized Saturday for “miscommunication” with states about the number of doses to be delivered at the early stage of circulation.
In another potential problem, England ‘s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said on Saturday that the UK had informed the World Health Organization that officials believe a new version of the coronavirus can spread more quickly. The British health secretary said this week that the new variant was believed to be linked to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the south and south-east of England.
In California, hospitals across the state are under attack from patients and morgue space is running low. Hospitals are running out of beds of intensive care units and patients are receiving care in a number of overcrowded locations. In some places, the sick are tried in tents and ambulances are supported outside emergency rooms because there is no place to put patients.
When Pirozzi ‘s father, Jerry, arrived at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousands Oaks, he was so full of patients that he had to spend two days in the emergency room before an intensive care bed opened. said Pirozzi. She kept calling the hospital, but ER nurses told her they had no rooms, she said.
“I’m sure that was very difficult for him, upset, unable to breathe, to be alone,” said Pirozzi. “They’re doing their best, but they’re just stressed and working too hard.”
Her mother, Shirley, was taken to the same hospital four days later and moved into a separate room, she said. Pirozzi said her family has not told Jerry that his wife is more than 57 years in the hospital as well; she’s afraid it would only make it worse.
“I want him to be a little stronger so he doesn’t put it back,” she said. “Because I know the bride is in charge.”
Pirozzi said both her parents have been experiencing panic attacks. Unable to visit family members, she has been delivering written notes in a plastic bag that she asks nurses to read to them.
She urged the public to take the virus seriously.
“I would not wish this to be my worst enemy, as they will both go down within five or seven days of each other,” she said. “Do everything you can to protect yourself because you don’t want this to happen to you.”
Richer reported from Boston. Related journalist Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama contributed to this report.
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