Less than a month before Election Day, the rate of hospitalizations from covid-19 are on the rise in key battleground states throughout the Midwest, while states where President Trump has been leading are seeing a surge in new infections.
The increases come as the distinctly different leadership styles and approaches of Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, to addressing the pandemic emerge as key themes of the presidential race.
On Wednesday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced health officials would open a field hospital at the Wisconsin State Fair Park just outside of Milwaukee to handle the number of new covid-19 cases that are starting to “overwhelm” hospitals in the key swing state. The number of hospitalizations due to covid-19 have nearly tripled in the past month, surging to 853 from 289 in early September.
Michigan and Pennsylvania are two more battleground states where the rates of new hospitalizations have grown by 10 percent or more in the past seven days, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Iowa, another state where the presidential race is a toss-up, on Wednesday set a new high for hospitalizations — one of eight states to hit or tie record levels.
In places like North Dakota, South Dakota and Indiana where state leaders have embraced Trump’s more cavalier attitude toward the virus and adopted fewer restrictions, not only have hospitalization rates grown, new infections — and in some states, deaths — are on the rise as well.
Montana and South Dakota on Wednesday recorded new highs for single-day cases while North Dakota tallied its highest single day for deaths from covid-19. In Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, the average daily rate of new hospitalizations has surged past previous peak highs from the spring or summer.