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‘Hunker down’ because the fall Covid-19 surge is here

As predicted, the US is now grappling with a new Covid-19 surge — one that could overwhelm hospitals, kill thousands of Americans a day by January and leave even young survivors with long-term complications.



a person standing in a parking lot: A medic prepares to transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where Coronavirus patients are treated in Coral Gables near Miami, on July 30, 2020. - Florida has emerged as a major new epicenter of the US battle against the disease, with confirmed cases recently surpassing New York and now second only to California. The state toll has leapt over the past week and more than 6,500 people have died from the disease there, according to health officials. More than 460,000 people have been infected with the virus in Florida, which has a population of 21 million, and a quarter of the state's cases are in Miami. The US has tallied a total of 151,826 deaths from COVID-19, making it the hardest-hit country in the world. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)


© CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images
A medic prepares to transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where Coronavirus patients are treated in Coral Gables near Miami, on July 30, 2020. – Florida has emerged as a major new epicenter of the US battle against the disease, with confirmed cases recently surpassing New York and now second only to California. The state toll has leapt over the past week and more than 6,500 people have died from the disease there, according to health officials. More than 460,000 people have been infected with the virus in Florida, which has a population of 21 million, and a quarter of the state’s cases are in Miami. The US has tallied a total of 151,826 deaths from COVID-19, making it the hardest-hit country in the world. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

“We went down to the lowest point lately in early September, around 30,000-35,000 new cases a day. Now we’re back up to (about) 50,000 new cases a day. And it’s going to continue to rise,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Tuesday.

“This is the fall/winter surge that everyone was worried about. And now it’s happening. And it’s happening especially in the northern Midwest, and the Northern states are getting hit very hard — Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas. But it’s going to be nationally soon enough.”

Across the country, more than 30 states have reported more Covid-19 cases this past week than they reported the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, sounded an alarm Tuesday about certain states’ test-positivity rates, saying they may be a good indicator that steeper climbs in case rates are ahead.

For the whole country, test positivity averaged 5.1% over the past week as of Tuesday. But in at least 13 states, the figure was above 10%: in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

“You’d like to see (the rates) less than 3%, optimally 1% or less,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at an event hosted by the College of American Pathologists.

“We’re starting to see a number of states well above that, which is often — in fact, invariably — highly predictive of a resurgence of cases, which historically we know leads to an increase in hospitalizations and then ultimately an increase in deaths,” he said.

In Denver, recent case counts are as “high right now as they were at the height of the pandemic back in May,” Mayor Michael Hancock said