Worries over post-holiday COVID-19 surge ahead of new year

A new variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Canada and intensive care units in the U.S. are filling up quickly as case numbers surge.
5:03 | 12/28/20

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Transcript for Worries over post-holiday COVID-19 surge ahead of new year
Joining me now for more on the latest in the pandemic is infectious disease specialist and ABC news medical contributor doctor Todd gallery and doctor Alan good morning hope you at a safe and Merry Christmas is sad that we have to go back to this topic but. Given the high travel numbers that we're seeing and doctor thought she's warning of a Christmas and New Year's surge. What should we expect in the next few weeks how worried are you. They're Merry Christmas Diane I hope yours was fine as well and restful. You know they're concerned as we've seen it before is we surge after holiday's and especially affecting your Thanksgiving. On the heels of Christmas on the heels of New Year's. We're just going to see eight a multiplier effect here and we are going to see more cases now we have to be careful because remember the country is not. Entirely even we have a bit of a tapestry here. And so when you hear about cases going down in the midwest I mean that's encouraging but I want to warn people that around the holidays sometimes the analytics you know people are who were used to giving us numbers and data cry ensuring are also on holidays they should be so sometimes there are delays and I wouldn't be surprised if we sees spikes. Even in places where we're seeing decreasing case counts we have to be really careful. And a few countries have now reported cases of that new corona virus strain first found in the UK including. Canada so. Given how that then and what we're seeing with this strain how likely do you think it is that it's already here. I'd be shocked if it weren't here already. I think what's really important is that United States needs to really real ball. Our sequencing. Of the virus we're doing far too few analysis. Of our. Our our viruses so we don't really know if we have the very end here yes we've done some limited testing haven't seen it yet. But I suspected that if we start doing robust sequencing we're gonna find out that it is here. An intensive care units are filling up in hospitals across the country a New York Times analysis earlier this month. Found that 78% of icu beds nationwide were occupied so what impact. Does this have on hospitals beyond just not having enough space. To him we have a crisis of capacity right now. We have too much virus too much transmission. Too few hospital beds in a specially. Too few icu beds but as you know it's not just about creating more intensive care unit beds because we also need the staff to take care of those patients were in those bets in this breaking we have regional transmission so we could borrow people from other parts of the country who were had enough courage and compassion to come to us or for us to go to them this time it's much different as we have widespread transmission I can tell you in our own intensive care unit. We are. Really you don't doubling our efforts right now we have a act icu week we have had had to develop alternative cures. That's sites that in order to care for these patients. This is really scary right now and remember it's not just about to cope in nineteen patients. This also impacts the gnawing cold in nineteen patients or heart attacks or strokes heart patients with cancer it satirist so we really have to. Dialed down the cases so we don't put that much more pressure on our tens of carry units. And you hit on another point that are asking about designing a lot of people when they think about this they think only of their risk of cove in nineteen that if the icu is full. What happens if you get into a car crash. That's the concern. You don't get your eyes to you was is bull that means you have to find other parts of your hospital that can care for these patients finding the bad. It's easy shots that the rate limiting stuff it's also making sure you catch is that any person coming and opt for example I'm not intensive us. I see. Critically ill infectious disease patients but we need our specialized intensive is to really care for the sickest patients. And remember the demand right now is. It is exceeding the supply. An operation warp speed reported that they anticipated fascinating twenty million people by the end. Of the year so far in this country ten point eight million vaccine doses have been delivered. And only about two million have been actually administered so does that worry you that were off base. It really is worrisome I mean as you know it's not just a boat. The building the vaccines the manufacturing. We have to find the right cadence between manufacturing. Distribution. And acceptance and bet is. A major challenge right now you know I'm not surprised that there were behind because in the beginning you expect her to be missteps are really hope over the ensuing weeks there we're gonna see a significant increase in the uptake. So to doctor Todd Eller and thank you as always. They say it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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