Oct. 9 (UPI) — For the fourth time in a week, the United States has added more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases — this time, in fact, climbing to a level not seen in almost two months.
Updated data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday showed an addition of 56,200 cases and almost 1,000 deaths on Thursday.
The case number is the highest since Aug. 14 and continues what appears to be a slowly rising trajectory of for the coronavirus disease in the United States that began in early September. There have now been four days in October with more than 50,000 cases, after just three for the entire month of September.
Thursday’s death toll was the highest since Sept. 25.
Since the start of the outbreak, there have been 7.61 million cases and 212,800 deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said the rise in cases could pose serious problems this fall and winter.
With an average of more than 40,000 new cases per day, Fauci told MSNBC on Thursday he’s “not comfortable” with the present trajectory.
“I would like to see that level, way, way down, well below 10,000,” he said.
The United States hasn’t added fewer than 10,000 new cases on any day since late March.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s especially concerned about the Midwest and Northwest, where it’s “more difficult to deal with respiratory borne virus, as people begin to go indoors more.”
In Wisconsin, state officials reported the highest single-day total to date Thursday.
“We are on the verge of a crisis in Green Bay and our surrounding counties,” Dr. Paul Casey of Bellin Health Systems told CNBC.
Casey, chief of Bellin’s emergency department, said hospital beds have been at or near capacity for a week and the situation is taking on toll on doctors and nurses.
The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has tripled in the past month, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, and intensive care patients have more than doubled.
In Utah, officials also reported a new daily record. The state has the nation’s fifth-highest level of COVID-19 transmission and trails only North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Montana, according to the Brown School of Public Health.
“As a physician, as a mother and a concerned citizen, I plead with you, wear a mask at all times out of your home,” University of Utah Dr. Emily Spivak appealed to residents at a press briefing.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, head of Utah’s coronavirus task force, told the Deseret News he’s “sincerely concerned” about the state’s ability to deal with the rise in cases.
Hospital officials, he said, have been working “around the clock on contingency plans that I pray we will never have to implement.”