Colorado saw 5,765 new cases of COVID-19 Nov. 20, and 1,564 Coloradans are hospitalized with the deadly virus.
“This is the worst it’s ever been,” Gov. Jared Polis said.
“We know that many will make it out, and some won't. And we have lost 2,355 Coloradans.
“We’re in for some tough days ahead.”
Polis called on Coloradans to avoid gathering for Thanksgiving, or gathering at all with people outside of their immediate households.
“Now is the time when what was always reasonably safe is no longer reasonably safe,” he said. “And we are losing Coloradans every day to this horrible virus. And it is in our power to stop that.”
Polis covered a range of areas related to COVID-19.
Treat everyone as contagious
“I was shocked when [the models] said one in 49 [Coloradans are likely infected with COVID-19]," he said. "We identify about 5,000 cases a day — but we know we're only getting about half of them. There's probably [up to] 12,000 a day and each case is infectious for about 9 days on average.
"So that gives you somewhere around 100,000 or so Coloradans that are currently contagious. That's 1.7 percent of our population. It's extremely prevalent. It is in our communities. Literally everybody that you encounter could be contagious at this time.
"Here's the best advice I can give you: treat every interaction like that person that you're talking to — it could be a trusted friend, your neighbor, a complete stranger — treat every interaction like that person is contagious with coronavirus. Because guess what? So many of us are.”
Precautions will take time to show results
“We're hopeful that the new changes that are being made around indoor dining in most places and [limiting] capacity in gyms and making sure that people don't socialize with people outside their household … changes the trajectory,” Polis said.
“But it's also important that Coloradans are realistic: It takes two weeks for that to change the trajectory, before it really starts showing up.”
Your mask goes over your nose too
“We all hail vaccine that’s 90, 94 percent effective. You know what? We have something today that's 50-75 percent effective. It's called wearing a mask properly," Polis said. "It's called wearing a mask over your nose and mouth. That’s 50-75 percent effective at preventing yourself from catching the virus — even better than some of the earlier studies showed.”
Fauci urges greater efforts at distancing
Polis spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, today about the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Dr. Fauci said help in the form of a promising vaccine is near and urged us to let that news redouble our individual efforts to stay apart now,” Polis said.
“He discussed how we must not let fatigue prevent us from listening to science and doing what we know we can do to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Fauci highlighted the importance of targeted actions and reiterated that major drivers of virus transmission are connected to innocent personal gatherings, sharing that he himself will be spending Thanksgiving separate from his children.”
“We'll all be able to gather together fully, safely and normally after we get the vaccine. There's light at the end of the tunnel — it's so soon,” Polis said.
“That's why this setback is really so frustrating. It's not interminable; it's not going to go on forever. In March and April we didn't know how long it would go on. Now this is very close. The first Coloradans are going to get the vaccine in December — now, that's mostly frontline workers and nurses. But it will be increasingly available early next year.
"So the end is in sight, but it's still a long time from now till then. It could make the difference of thousands of lives — maybe even your own — if you do the right thing. ... We all just need to be patient.”
Help is on the way for small business — but more is needed
“These are also very challenging times for Colorado's small businesses,” Polis said. “It's unfair that our small businesses are paying the price for — fundamentally — a lack of personal responsibility and us each taking charge of preventing the spread of the virus in our own lives, which is well within our power.
"There's more that we can do to step up for our small businesses. And that's why on Tuesday in partnership with legislative leaders, I announced that we're convening a special session of the legislature to address the urgent economic issues around the pandemic. They will be coming back Nov. 30 ... to do the necessary people's work to help meet the need for rental relief, for help for restaurants and bars, for help to make sure that childcare can continue to go on in our state, for food pantries, for WiFi and broadband for kids.
"As a state, we're going to do everything we can, we're going to sweep under every rug, we're going to find every dollar we can to help those in need — our small businesses, people whose employment had been hit.
"But you know what? There's nothing Colorado can do at the size that our nation can do. The United States of America, the wealthiest nation in the world, needs to step up. I continue to echo my call on Congress ... to get together and do what they need to do, to find those areas of agreement.”