Uncontrolled coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Midwest and Mountain West have strained hospitals, pushed the country’s case curve to its highest level since August and heightened fears about what the winter might bring.
Sixteen states each added more new cases in the seven-day period ending Monday than they had in any other weeklong stretch of the pandemic. North Dakota and South Dakota are reporting more new cases per person than any state has previously. And in Wisconsin, home to 10 of the country’s 20 metro areas with the highest rates of recent cases, crews are preparing a field hospital at the state fairgrounds.
“While we are hopeful we can flatten the curve enough to never have to use the facility, Wisconsinites across our state are struggling and they are rightfully scared of this virus,” Gov. Tony Evers wrote to legislative leaders this week in a letter seeking support for his mask order and limits on public gatherings.
About 50,000 new cases are being reported each day on average in the United States for the week ending Monday. That is still far less than in late July, when the country averaged more than 66,000 daily cases.
But the country’s trajectory is worrisome — and worsening. Many experts fear what could happen as cold weather encroaches on more of the country and drives people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
New cases are trending upward in 36 states, including much of the Northeast, which is starting to backslide after months of progress, and in Illinois, which surpassed 9,000 total deaths this month.
More than 820 new deaths and more than 54,500 new cases were announced across the country on Tuesday. Idaho and Wisconsin set single-day records for new cases.
Hospital beds are filling with virus patients, especially in the Northern Plains states, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. Its data shows that 36,034 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, a higher number than at any time since Aug. 29. Testing remains insufficient in much of the country.
“After nine months of battling this virus and hearing the updates each day, many of us forget that the hospitalizations and deaths are more than just numbers,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said on Tuesday. “They are our family, friends, and loved ones who have been directly impacted by Covid-19, which continues to spread.”
Source: The New York Times