Covid-19 cases are trending upwards 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 Wednesday 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 healthcare 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 Wednesday. “Sadly, we are now seeing increased fatalities. The Wisconsin announcement should be a sobering reminder as Utah isn’t far behind in infection rates.”
Other states, including 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 Hopkins. Only two states — Alabama and Hawaii — report a decline of cases.
More than 211,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins. And another 150,000 could die in the next three months, according to projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
State leaders take new measures
Some US leaders have pushed new measures hoping to curb the spread of the virus. In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said the state is seeing the third major escalation of cases and his mask mandate would be renewed for another 30 days.
That announcement comes after Beshear said authorities had been instructed to step up mask enforcement.
Wisconsin also issued a new order earlier this week limiting public gatherings. And in New York, the governor announced restrictions for areas where Covid-19 clusters were occurring — including closing schools and limiting crowds at houses of worship.