Headlines for October 14, 2020

Coronavirus cases are surging to new highs in communities across the United States as fall weather sets in, with over 54,000 new infections reported Tuesday and 20 states reaching record highs for the disease. Oklahoma City officials say they’ve run out of intensive care beds. Bismarck, North Dakota, reported it has just a single ICU bed remaining. And six major hospitals in Mississippi have no ICU capacity. Officially there have been nearly 216,000 deaths from COVID-19 this year, but a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts up to 400,000 pandemic-related U.S. deaths in 2020. This comes as The Washington Post and The New York Times report that Trump administration officials say they’ve adopted a policy of deliberately letting the virus infect much of the U.S. population in order to attain “herd immunity.” Health experts warn the strategy might not even be possible and could lead to more than 2 million U.S. deaths. In Geneva, Switzerland, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Monday that herd immunity should only be reached through vaccination — not natural infection.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It’s scientifically and ethically problematic.”

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