Next 6 to 12 weeks to be ‘the darkest’ of COVID-19, experts say

Dr. Michael Osterholm, a top infectious disease expert, made the dire warning as the U.S. sees a wave of new COVID-19 cases and over 40 states see increases in virus hospitalizations.
3:03 | 10/19/20

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Transcript for Next 6 to 12 weeks to be ‘the darkest’ of COVID-19, experts say
new warnings this evening about the dangerous spread of the coronavirus. Mayors and governors urging people to take the virus seriously and one trusted expert tonight saying the next 6 to 12 weeks could be the darkest we've seen yet. A 500% increase in cases this month alone in El Paso, Texas. The director of public health declaring the situation is, quote, out of control. Hospitalizations up in 41 states, including Texas. And this evening, more than 220,000 American lives have been lost. Here's ABC's chief national correspondent Matt Gutman from Texas tonight. Reporter: Inside the icu at the university medical center in El Paso -- You ready? Reporter: -- Doctors and nurses are fighting to save their covid patients. Is it fair to say you're in the surge? Yes, this is by far the highest number of patients we've had since the pandemic again. Reporter: El Paso seeing a 500% increase in cases over the past two weeks. Icu beds are filling. At one point over the weekend, only seven icu beds were left in a region of over a million people. The more positives, the more hospitalizations, the more icus, the more respirators, and then ultimately the more deaths. Reporter: Here and across the country, authorities urging Americans to take the virus seriously. Make no mistake, we are in the second surge. It's going to be a precarious fall across the country. We are going to be managing this for the foreseeable future. Reporter: With a top infectious disease expert making this dire warning. The next 6 to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic. Reporter: The U.S. Amidst a surge in cases, nearing record highs. Averaging over 55,000 new cases a day, up more than 60% since September. A troubling sign, 41 states are seeing an increase in hospitalizations. Ambulances pulling into this field hospital in Wisconsin, one of 13 states seeing an increase in fatalities. People still don't believe this is a real disease, and we're seeing some -- some dramatic, very dangerous situations occurring in our community. Reporter: A sentiment echoed here in hard-hit El Paso. You said people's response, and compliance, was out of control? Yes, I think we are out of control. It's not the virus. We are out of control, because if we practice the proper measures, then we can stop the virus. Matt Gutman with us tonight from Texas. And mads, we also know tonight that many governors have now sent questions to the trump administration about plans to get the vaccine to the American people when it's ready. Reporter: That's right. About three dozen questions, David, and chief among them is, how the the vaccine itself going to be selected? How is this incredibly complex distribution going to work? And how is all of this going to be funded? And just to give you an idea of what a worldwide herculean effort this is going to be to administer the vaccine, unicef alone has stockpiled over 520 million sir rings, of course, the vaccine won't be ready for most of us until early next week. David? Matt Gutman, thank you. And this evening, Europe is

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