WASHINGTON — A US health official said on Friday that the storming of Capitol by a largely maskless crowd earlier this week in the middle of a surging COVID-19 pandemic will have “public health consequences”.
“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told McClatchy News organization in an interview.
A big crowd of outgoing President Donald Trump’s supporters overwhelmed police and breached Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic and violent situation that left five people dead and dozens of others injured.
Redfield said “these individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country right now.”
“So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading event,” he continued. “This is an event that is going to have public health consequences.”
COVID-19 is spreading across the United States, with over 4,000 death reported on Thursday. As of Friday, more than 21 million individuals have caught the virus in the United States, with nearly 369,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
“We haven’t hit the peak of the current surge,” Redfield told McClatchy. “We’re going to continue to see mortality in the 2,500-5,000 a day range … This is going to continue to get worse through January, and probably parts of February before we really start to turn the corner.”
President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that the United States remains “in this dark winter of the pandemic,” while lashing out at the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout.
“The vaccines give us hope, but their rollout has been a travesty,” he said.
Acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said on Friday that 1 million vaccines were distributed across the country on that day, bringing the total number of doses distributed to 22 million.