World

People urged to stay home as US healthcare workers are pushed to brink

WASHINGTON: US state and federal officials pleaded with Americans to stay at home and redouble efforts to curtail the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, defending unpopular public health measures as record hospitalisations pushed healthcare professionals to the brink.

"We are on fire with Covid," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on CNN after enacting new restrictions last week, including retail curbs and school closures. "We're just trying to do the right thing."

The US surpassed 86,000 hospitalisations for Covid-19 on Tuesday, a record, as 30 of the 50 states reported record numbers of patients this month.

That has taxed already exhausted healthcare providers as more than 1,500 coronavirus deaths and 171,000 new cases pile up daily on average.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked Americans to grasp "the severity of the moment" and remain vigilant by wearing masks, avoiding crowds and frequently washing hands until vaccines and therapies can be administered.

"We just need you, the American people, to hold on a little bit longer," Vice-Admiral Adams, a White House coronavirus task force member, told Fox News.

Vice-Adm Adams urged people to adjust their plans ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday today, which has led to the busiest US air travel since the early days of the pandemic in March, with millions of people flying despite the hazards of a crowded airport.

After pounding big cities in the spring, Covid-19 has now engulfed rural America.

Case rates in the 12 Midwestern states are more than double that of any other region, according to the Covid Tracking Project, up more than 20 times from mid-June to mid-November. - REUTERS

WORLD