Tired health workers brace for holiday spike

U.S. health authorities braced for further increases in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths on Friday, capping a week in which the spread of the novel coronavirus accelerated ahead of next week's Thanksgiving holiday.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases reached more than 165,000 on Thursday, while the seven-day average for deaths climbed to over 1,300.

Officials in more than 20 states have reimposed restrictions to curtail the spread of the virus as increased hospitalizations strain already exhausted medical staff.

Dr. Miriam Torossian is a physician at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California:

"I am very worried that before Christmas it's going to be very ugly in many ICUs across the country. We feel alone, alienated and hearing people not being supportive or compassionate - in fact, saying that we're in on some conspiracy - is incredibly painful."

California's governor on Thursday imposed some of the most stringent restrictions on the vast majority of the state's population, a curfew on social gatherings and non-essential activity between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the next month.

Newsom said in a statement, "The virus is spreading at a pace we haven't seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge."

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. has jumped nearly 50% in the past two weeks, with more than 80,000 people being treated for the disease in hospitals across the country as of late Thursday.

The most at any time during the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally.

Daily COVID-19 deaths surpassed the 2,000 mark for the first time since late June on Thursday.

Some health workers are shocked that there are people who continue to ignore common sense health measures.

Chris Rice, nursing manager of the non-ICU COVID ward at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California:

"People can look at our parking lot and think that we must not have many patients because there aren't any cars in the parking lot. But there's no cars in the parking lot because we can't have visitors. It's still just stuns me that people are in so much denial about this."

The White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, told CNN Friday that Americans should avoid unnecessary travel and limit social gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday - even as positive signs for vaccines emerge.

Video Transcript

- US health authorities braced for further increases in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths on Friday, capping a week in which the spread of the novel coronavirus accelerated ahead of next week's Thanksgiving holiday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases reached more than 165,000 on Thursday, while the seven-day average for deaths climbed to over 1,300.

Officials in more than 20 states have reimposed restrictions to curtail the spread of the virus as increased hospitalizations strain already exhausted medical staff.

Dr. Miriam Torossian is a physician at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.

MIRIAM TOROSSIAN: I am very worried that before Christmas it's going to be very ugly in many ICUs across the country. We feel alone, alienated. And hearing, you know, people not being supportive or compassionate-- in fact, saying that we're in on some kind of conspiracy-- is incredibly painful.

- California's governor on Thursday imposed some of the most stringent restrictions on the vast majority of the state's population, a curfew on social gatherings and nonessential activity between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM for the next month. Newsom said in a statement, quote, "The virus is spreading at a pace we haven't seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge."

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US has jumped nearly 50% in the past two weeks with more than 80,000 people being treated for the disease in hospitals across the country as of late Thursday, the most at any time during the pandemic according to a Reuters tally. Daily COVID-19 deaths surpassed the 2,000 mark for the first time since late June on Thursday.

Some health workers are shocked there are people who continue to ignore commonsense health measures. Chris Rice, nursing manager of the non-ICU COVID ward at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.

CHRIS RICE: You know, people can look at our parking lot and think that we must not have many patients because, you know, there aren't cars in the parking lot, but there's no cars in the parking lot because we can't have visitors. It still just stuns me that people are in so much denial about this.

- The White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told CNN Friday that Americans should avoid unnecessary travel and limit social gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday, even as positive signs for vaccines emerge.