There is almost no place in America where the number of Covid-19 cases is trending in the right direction as the country goes to what health experts say will be the most challenging month of the pandemic.
The US averages more than 55,000 new cases a day – up 60% since the mid-September tsunami – and experts say the country is in the midst of a dreadful fall. On Friday, the US reported the highest number of infections in a single day since July. As of Saturday, more than 8.1 million cases of the virus had been reported in the US and 219,286 people had died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Missouri and Vermont alone recorded more than a 10% improvement in the average number of cases reported in the past week, according to university data. Cases in Connecticut and Florida, on the other hand, increased by 50% or more.
Twenty-seven states saw spikes between 10% and 50%: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
New cases are static in the remaining states.
“It’s really an offensive time, and people have to be careful,” said epidemiologist Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.
‘This climb has the potential to make it worse’
On Friday, 10 states reported their maximum number of days: Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to Johns Hopkins.
As the infections increase, so too, are hospitalized. In New Mexico, hospital admissions rose 101% this month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.
More hospitalization could be followed by an increase in the daily mortality of coronavirus, Drs. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Although the US average of 700 coronavirus deaths a day remains lower than the daily toll of 1,000 in July and August, University of Washington researchers project more than 2,300 Americans could die daily in mid-January.
“When we saw this type of transmission earlier in the pandemic, in March and April, the virus did not seed anywhere. … This climb has the potential to be worse than spring or summer,” he said. El-Sayed, Detroit’s former health director, said.
State leaders pushed for new restrictions
Americans can help control the virus, experts say, by following the guidelines that officials have been saying for months: avoiding crowded settings, maintaining distance, keeping small gathering outside and wearing a mask.
“This is a good moment for people to stop and ask themselves: ‘What can I do to ensure that we limit further infections that would otherwise seem to be unfolding before us as the cold weather rises and people are inside, and those curves are going up, in the wrong direction? ‘”Collins said Friday.
The increases prompted state leaders to push for new restrictions, including the implementation of masks and restrictions on gatherings, in the hope of preventing the spread.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has announced changes to state health measures, including requiring hospitals to reserve at least 10% of staffed general and ICU beds for patients of Covid-19.
In Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear said this month he instructed the authorities to strengthen the implementation of the mask, and in New Mexico, the governor this week ordered new assembly limits at 10:00 p.m. of closure for establishments serving alcohol.
“Every New Mexico can and should do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, limiting their interaction with others, and wearing their masks,” Grisham tweeted.