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New U.S. Infections Lowest in a Week

The U.S. reported the smallest increase in new coronavirus infections in a week, while hospitals in some parts of the country are seeing rising numbers of Covid-19 patients.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 7.8 million, as the nation reported more than 41,000 new cases for Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll surpassed 215,000.

U.S. hospitalizations, meanwhile, are at the highest level since Sept. 2, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project. As of Monday, there were 35,056 patients hospitalized across the country, more than 16% higher than the level a week earlier. While hospitalizations are rising, they are still lower than July’s daily highs of more than 59,000.

Latest on the Virus

  • U.S. cases rise by more than 41,000
  • Hospitalizations at highest level since Sept. 2.
  • India reports smallest rise in new cases in almost two months.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson warned that high levels of hospitalizations in the state were straining the health-care system and urged residents via

Twitter

to “work together to reduce our cases.”

Hospitalizations are also rising in New Jersey, where the state’s seven-day average of Covid-19 cases topped 700 on Monday for the fifth straight day, a benchmark New Jersey last hit in early June. More than 600 people in the state remain hospitalized due to Covid-19, up from about 400 in September. More than 6,000 people were hospitalized when the state peaked in April.

In the U.S. territory of Guam, hospitalizations are at the highest level since the pandemic began, with 62 people in civilian hospitals and three at the island’s U.S. Naval hospital.

Daily reported Covid-19 deaths in the U.S.

Notes: For all 50 states and D.C., U.S. territories and cruises. Last updated

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

Daily reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

Note: For all 50 states and D.C., U.S. territories and cruises. Last updated

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

California:Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state has increased its rate of daily tests to an average of 125,000. The state administered 169,000 tests on Saturday, Mr. Newsom said in a briefing on Monday. The state also said that 95% of its local health departments were contacting those who tested positive for the virus on the same day they received test results, a critical measure of effectiveness in contact tracing to slow the spread of the virus.

Vaccines:

Johnson & Johnson

said it has paused further dosing in all clinical trials of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine because a study volunteer had an unexplained illness. The pause affects all trials of J&J’s vaccine, including a large Phase 3 trial that began in September and aimed to enroll as many as 60,000 people in the U.S. and several other countries. An independent data-safety monitoring board is reviewing the study subject’s illness, the company said.

Monitoring the U.S. Outbreak

Confirmed cases by state, ranked by latest full-day count

Daily confirmed cases per

Californians hospitalized with COVID-19 at lowest level in 6 months

VENTURA, CA - OCTOBER 07: Lunctime crowd in downtown Ventura on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Data released by the California Department of Public Health on Tuesday confirmed that Ventura County has moved into the less restrictive red tier. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Patrons visit downtown Ventura at lunchtime on Wednesday. Statewide, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have dropped to their lowest levels in months. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

While the spread of the coronavirus accelerates in much of the nation, California is enjoying a moment of relief, as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have dropped to the lowest levels in months.

The average number of deaths logged daily in the state is 57, the lowest since May, according to a rolling seven-day average calculated by The Times. In addition, fewer patients are in the hospital with COVID-19 — 2,209 as of Saturday — than there have been since April 2.

The state’s positivity rate, a measure of tests for the virus that come back positive, is 2.6%, an all-time low, according to state data.

These figures represent a major improvement following a massive spike earlier this year. During the summer months, the average number of deaths recorded each day reached 140, the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 topped 7,000, and the state positivity rate crossed 7%.

Despite these hopeful signs, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Monday that the rate at which hospitalizations and deaths are declining has slowed, while case numbers have stopped falling and appear to have reached a plateau. Additionally, some of the figures released Monday may be artificially low because of a lag in reporting over the weekend.

“These are just areas of caution, a sober reminder of how stubborn this disease is and how prevalent and widespread this disease still remains here in California,” Newsom said during a news briefing.

He also raised alarms about the upcoming flu season, which could create added challenges in battling the coronavirus, as well as the arrival of colder weather that may force people to spend more time indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread. On Friday, the state released guidelines for socializing that prohibit gatherings among more than three households.

“We are entering into the holidays, but also we’re entering into the part of the year when things cool down and people are more likely to congregate … in settings that put their physical proximity and likelihood of transmitting disease at higher risk,” Newsom said. “Don’t be misled that this disease is any less deadly. Quite the contrary — it is as deadly as it’s ever been in the context of those that are high-risk.”

The new numbers come as the state has been slowly allowing some counties to open more businesses. Most recently, Ventura, Merced and Yuba counties were allowed to loosen restrictions on businesses, giving restaurants, movie theaters and gyms the ability to open indoors in limited capacity.

Newsom said more counties will be allowed to take similar steps on Tuesday, when the state announces which counties meet the criteria for entering the next phase of reopening. Though some counties continue to struggle to meet the required thresholds, California in general is “moving in the right direction,” he said.

He added that

Testing positive: New York has among lowest state rates of new COVID-19 cases

New York continues to have one of the nation’s lowest rates of people testing positive for the coronavirus, but experts say recent outbreaks and cooler weather could push those numbers up.

The state had the second-lowest positive test rate in the country, according to Covid Act Now, a nonprofit website run by epidemiologists, public health experts, data scientists and others that analyzes COVID-19 data. In the latest analysis, from Saturday, only Maine, at 0.5%,had a lower rate than New York, which was tied with Vermont for the second-lowest positivity rate of 1.2%. Idaho, with 23.9% of people testing positive, had the highest. The group uses a 7-day rolling average of test results.

In March and April, New York was the epicenter for the pandemic in the United States, with hundreds of residents dying of COVID-19 every day.

“We got from where we were in April because we distanced, we isolated, we masked, and the virus ran its course,” said Dr. David Battinelli, chief medical officer of New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, the state’s largest health system.

New Yorkers take the pandemic more seriously than many other Americans because they lived through the surge in cases that overloaded area hospitals with COVID-19 patients, and they’re more likely to know people who got sick or died from the disease, he said.

“The question about whether this is real, whether it’s a conspiracy, ‘Is it really what they say?,’ ‘I know somebody who didn’t get that sick’ — all that’s been answered locally,” he said.

“There is more fear,” said Sean Clouston, an associate professor of public health at Stony Brook University.

Clouston said he recently viewed live cams in several states and noticed that in New York most or all people were wearing face coverings, while in states like South Carolina, North Dakota and Louisiana, most of those with masks were seniors or people with visible disabilities, and others typically didn’t wear them.

“I think the culture around mask use is very different — the idea you should protect yourself versus the idea you should wear masks to protect everybody,” he said.

Masks both help prevent people from spreading the coronavirus and from being exposed to it themselves. They become even more important as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors, where the virus is much more likely to spread, Clouston said.

New York also took a more gradual approach to reopening its economy, in comparison to mass reopenings in other states, said Dr. Leonard Krilov, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola and chairman of pediatrics.

“We’ve been more careful,” he said.

He contrasted his 10-year-old daughter’s Long Island school, with strict social-distancing and other restrictions, with the images he’s seen in other states of students crowded together in hallways.

New York also had the sixth-lowest number of daily new cases per 100,000, according to Covid Act Now.

The state’s 7.4 daily new cases per 100,000 residents was much lower than states experiencing surges, such