Murray, Utah — The United States has surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases — that’s 1 million new infections in just one week and 2 million since the beginning of the month. Hospitals are reaching a breaking point as they treat nearly 70,000 COVID-19 patients.
In Utah, records continue being shattered, and cases are skyrocketing. A quarter of new test results are now positive. As intensive care units fill up, health care workers are feeling the strain.
“We’re tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted,” said nurse Nate Smithson, who works at Intermountain Medical Center — Utah’s largest hospital. For some patients there, the cold COVID-19 reality still isn’t real.
“They deny it. Their family members deny it,” said Smithson.
Janine Roberts is also a nurse at the same hospital. She told CBS News, “We have these patients who literally are on life support. We’re working super hard to get them better, finally helping them to wake up, and then the first thing they’re trying to communicate is that it’s all a hoax.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Brandon Webb, with Intermountain Healthcare, said there continues to be pushback over the state’s new mask mandate.
“It’s no longer about politics,” he said. “I have seen more human suffering in the hospital in the last month than I’ve seen in my career.”
The stress is being felt around the nation.
“This thing is going crazy. It’s spreading like wildfire,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.
In St. Louis, residents are now being urged to stay home.
“We have no backup. If we stay on the path that we’re on even just two more weeks, we will not have the staff we need to care for patients,” said Dr. Alexander Garza, chief community health officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.
In El Paso, Texas, it’s not just hospitals that are overwhelmed; the coroner is too. Inmates are being paid $2 an hour to load bodies into mobile morgues.
In California, COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past 10 days. Governor Gavin Newsom is now halting most of the state’s efforts to reopen.
“We are now moving backwards, not forwards,” he said during a news conference on Monday.
Michigan is now imposing new lockdown measures, severely limiting indoor gatherings.
Washington’s governor has announced an immediate shutdown of indoor gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and indoor dining.
“If you act early, you can save lives. And if you don’t, you’ll be swamped by a tsunami of this virus,” said Governor Jay Inslee.
Monday also brought about new developments on a COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna announced it has developed a vaccine that’s nearly 95% effective and capable of preventing severe illness. The company said with emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration, it could start giving the shots to high-risk patients and health care workers as soon as December.
This comes one week after drugmaker Pfizer announced that human trials suggest its coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in people not known to have the virus already. If approved, the vaccine will require patients to receive two shots, with the second coming 21 days after the first.
Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine nearly 95% effe…