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COVID Cases Climbing in 36 States | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Coronavirus outbreaks in the Midwest and Western United States have driven the national case count to its highest level since August, fueling fears of what the coming winter will mean for the country.

COVID-19 cases are starting to climb in 36 states, including parts of the Northeast, which is starting to backslide after months of progress, The New York Times reported. More than 820 new deaths and more than 54,500 new cases were announced across the country on Tuesday, the newspaper said. Idaho and Wisconsin set single-day records for new cases.

About 50,000 new cases are being reported each day in the United States for the week ending Monday, the Times reported. That is still less than in late July, when the country was seeing more than 66,000 cases each day.

But the trajectory is worsening, and experts fear what could happen as cold weather drives people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily, the newspaper said. The latest spike in cases shows up just before the increased mingling of people that comes with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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, the Times reported.

“A lot of the places being hit are Midwest states that were spared in the beginning,” William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher, told the Washington Post. “That’s of particular concern because a lot of these smaller regions don’t have the ICU beds and capacity that the urban centers had.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations have already begun rising in almost a dozen states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, raising the probability that increasing death counts will soon follow, the Post reported.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that he hopes the numbers “jolt the American public into a realization that we really can’t let this happen, because it’s on a trajectory of getting worse and worse.” He called the rising numbers “the worst possible thing that could happen as we get into the cooler months.”

It is unclear what is driving the climbing case count, but it could be the long-feared winter effect already taking place, or the reopening of businesses and schools, or just people letting down their guard on social distancing efforts, the Post reported.

Second COVID vaccine trial paused

A second coronavirus vaccine trial was paused this week after an unexplained illness surfaced in one of the trial’s volunteers.

Johnson & Johnson, which only began a phase 3 trial of its vaccine last month, did not offer any more details on the illness and did not say whether the sick participant had received the vaccine or a placebo. The trial pause was first reported by the health news website STAT

CDC ensemble forecast forsees death toll from Covid-19 climbing to 233,000 by end of month

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast that combines the data from dozens of independent models predicts US deaths from Covid-19 could reach 233,000 by the end of the month.



a man in a police car parked in a parking lot: People line up in their vehicles to undergo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests, distributed by the Wisconsin National Guard at the United Migrant Opportunity Services center, as cases spread in the Midwest, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski


© Alex Wroblewski/Reuters
People line up in their vehicles to undergo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests, distributed by the Wisconsin National Guard at the United Migrant Opportunity Services center, as cases spread in the Midwest, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

“This week’s national ensemble forecast indicates an uncertain trend in new COVID-19 deaths reported over the next four weeks and predicts that 2,800 to 6,800 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending October 31,” the CDC says on its website.

A prior ensemble forecast said there would be a total of 207,000 to 218,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of this week.

More than 212,000 Americans have already lost their lives to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

But deaths in the US have been declining recently. A total of 4,869 people in the US died from Covid-19 during in the first week of October, down 13% when compared to the first week of September (5,611 reported deaths).

New cases on the increase

Covid-19 cases are trending upward across the US, with only two states reporting a decline of cases compared to last week. And hospitalizations across the country have also begun to rise, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Wisconsin health officials reported a record-high number of 141 new patients Wednesday, days after the state saw records in new Covid-19 cases and deaths. Gov. Tony Evers announced the state will open a field hospital in response to the surge in hospitalizations.

“We obviously hoped this day wouldn’t come but, unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different and more dire place today, and our health care systems are being overwhelmed,” Evers said.

Other state leaders say they’re not trailing far behind.

“Our hospitalization rates are surging and beginning to place a strain on our healthcare system (especially staffing),” Utah Lt. Gov Spencer Cox wrote on Twitter. “Sadly, we are now seeing increased fatalities. The Wisconsin announcement should be a sobering reminder as Utah isn’t far behind in infection rates.”

Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming have all seen record-high hospitalization numbers in the past days.

The uptick in Covid-19 patients comes as the US approaches winter with a daily Covid-19 base line that experts say is far too high. For the first time since August, the nation is averaging more than 44,000 new Covid-19 cases daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — an average that won’t help as the country enters what health officials say will be a challenging season.

More cases will mean more community spread, more hospitalizations and ultimately, more deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said.

At least half of US states, scattered across the Midwest and Northeast, are reporting more new cases than the previous week, according to Johns

Coronavirus hospitalizations grow in the Midwest amid climbing cases

Growing coronavirus outbreaks across the American West and Midwest have started to take an alarming turn as some states report growing Covid-19 hospitalizations and a shrinking supply of beds for patients. 

Six states reached record high Covid-19 hospitalizations, based on a weekly average to smooth out the reporting, as of Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic.  

Most of the states are based in the Midwest, including Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

There were at least 663 people in the hospital with Covid-19 in Wisconsin as of Friday, well beyond the state’s previous highs in April when roughly 400 people were hospitalized. Only 19% of the state’s hospital beds are available and 27% of the state’s Covid-19 patients are in the intensive-care unit, according to its data dashboard. 

In Missouri, there were at least 1,137 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Friday, the state’s highest number of patients so far, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Missouri, which tracks the weekly average of coronavirus patients, has reported a steady increase in patients and a slight decline in available intensive-care unit beds since early September.

Public health experts watch hospitalizations closely because they can indicate how severe an outbreak is in an area. It’s considered a better measure than new cases because it’s not as reliant on the availability of testing. 

Nationwide, coronavirus cases were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average, in 27 states as of Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Kentucky, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Montana reached record-high averages. 

“What we’re seeing is community based transmission right now in the upper Midwest and the Northwest,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told lawmakers on Friday during a U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing. 

“What we’re facing now is just plain old community spread as we saw in the Southeast and Southwest that comes from individuals not practicing the three W’s: wash your hands, watch your distance, wear your face coverings.” 

Wisconsin reports ‘alarming trends’

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday urged residents to stay at home as much as possible and to wear face coverings when in public. Evers extended Wisconsin’s mask mandate last week as he warned of an “alarming increase” in cases across the state, especially on college campuses. 

“I’m concerned about the alarming trends of Covid-19 we’re seeing across our state,” Evers reiterated during a press briefing Thursday, a day after the state reported 27 new Covid-19 deaths — it’s highest daily total on record. 

Wisconsin reported 2,745 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, continuing a trend of climbing infections at a level the state has yet to witness in its response to the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins data. 

“For a long stretch there we were kind of smoldering along, but never really got to a point where we would say that our resources