The White House coronavirus task force including its ostensible leader, Vice President Mike Pence, has chosen to sit on its hands and do virtually nothing while the coronavirus pandemic rages out of control, but no one can say they've been caught off guard.
CBS News reports that while the White House isn't taking any new steps to slow the spread of the virus, doctors on the task force have been warning them that deaths are going to pile up very high right around Christmas.
Deaths are already increasing, but deaths stemming from infections we're banking right now may come due between Christmas and the new year.
The doctors fear the U.S. could see an average of 1,500 deaths a day next week, and up to 2,000 a day by Christmas without any changes to mitigation measures.
The doctors on the task force are also concerned the predicted spikes will completely overrun hospitals and force the U.S. back to the hectic early phase of the pandemic. To prevent this from happening, the doctors are recommending that bars close and restaurants stop offering indoor dining. However, they believe schools can stay open because data shows the transmission rates are low.
The health officials on the task force are urging either Pence or President Trump to stress to the public from the briefing room podium the importance of taking mitigation measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Some states are taking new measures, such as imposing mask mandates for the first time ever, but we cannot truly gain control of the virus because these actions are limited to "some states." Our patchwork response means the virus cannot be isolated in one geographic area and the simultaneous spread across the country is a result of reckless behavior in the late summer and early fall.
A very large number of people are going to die between now and the time Joe Biden takes office on January 20th. But even once he is in office, he probably won't be able to order states to take measures they haven't already taken voluntarily.
"Hope" feels like the wrong word for the moment, but we can only hope that Republican governors will take their own imitative when their own local authorities are forced to go door-to-door collecting bodies. And that may sound alarmist, but that is actually what happened in New York earlier this year. The National Guard was called out to help pick up the dead.
Deaths from other causes are going to increase alongside coronavirus deaths because the latter will overwhelm the health care system. That's also what happened earlier this year. We've already seen this.