Apr 21, 2020 - Health

CDC director warns winter wave of coronavirus could be more deadly

CDC director Robert Redfield. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield warned in an interview with the Washington Post Tuesday that the second wave of the coronavirus this winter could be even more deadly due to its alignment with the start of flu season.

Why it matters: Redfield urged state and federal officials to use this time to prepare by ramping up testing capacity and contact tracing. He also stressed the need for Americans to understand the importance of social distancing as states lift stay-at-home orders, calling protests against the restrictions "not helpful."

  • Simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would heighten the demand for medical resources like ventilators and protective equipment, putting a tremendous strain on the health care system.
  • Annual flu shots will also be increasingly important in order to minimize hospitalizations.

What he's saying: "There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean," Redfield told the Post.

Flashback: The 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic had its first wave in the spring, but experienced a larger second wave in the fall and winter.

The big picture: Redfield acknowledged the need for a massive testing and tracing effort, which public health experts agree is crucial for being able to reopen large parts of the country.

  • Redfield told the Post that the CDC is hiring at least 650 people to assist with contact tracing in states, and he said the agency is considering using Census Bureau workers and Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers to create an "alternative workforce."
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has previously said an "army" of tracers will be needed for the next phase of the coronavirus fight.

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Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.

Minneapolis will ban police chokeholds following George Floyd's death

A memorial for George Floyd at the site of his death in Minneapolis. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Minneapolis has agreed to ban the use of police chokeholds and will require nearby officers to act to stop them in the wake of George Floyd's death, AP reports.

Why it matters: The agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which has launched an investigation into Floyd's death while in police custody, will be enforceable in court.