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Daily Covid-19 cases will hit six digits soon, expert warns, as US reports one-day high of more than 83,000 infections

The US just marked a harrowing milestone: It recorded its highest one-day number of Covid-19 infections Friday at more than 83,000 — more than 6,000 higher than the country’s previous record set in July.



a person wearing a blue hat: An RN hands off a coronavirus sample to medical assistant Bettie Cleveland at a COVID-19 testing site set up by Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center at Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall in Boston's Dorchester on Oct. 22, 2020. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)


© Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
An RN hands off a coronavirus sample to medical assistant Bettie Cleveland at a COVID-19 testing site set up by Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center at Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall in Boston’s Dorchester on Oct. 22, 2020. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

And as the fall surge continues, the daily numbers will get worse, experts warn.

“We easily will hit six-figure numbers in terms of the number of cases,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN Friday night. “And the deaths are going to go up precipitously in the next three to four weeks, following usually new cases by about two to three weeks.”

This comes as the country’s seven-day average of new daily cases surpassed 63,000 Friday — an 84% increase since the average started ticking back up in mid-September, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Health officials say the steep inclines follow the reopening of schools and colleges across the US and have been largely driven by small gatherings — often family events — that are increasingly moving indoors, where the virus is likely to spread.

In Maryland, the governor said this week family gatherings were the No. 1 source of transmission in the state, followed by house parties. In North Carolina, health officials reported its highest daily case count Friday and said they continue to see clusters “from social and religious gatherings.”

Unlike many European countries that are also experiencing spikes, the US never lowered its daily case baseline very far, meaning the compounding of cases could be worse, experts say.

And that’s ahead of several popular holidays, when health officials worry more Americans could let their guard down and opt to visit family and friends and further drive surges.

In North Dakota, with the highest per capita new case rate in the country, Gov. Doug Burgum called for a “Thanksgiving challenge,” urging residents to follow mitigation guidance like masks and social distancing to bring numbers down by the holiday.

“It would be really great to be sharing with all of you at Thanksgiving that our numbers are going down as we head into the holiday period,” he said Friday. “That we’ve got increasing amounts of hospital capacity. That our schools have remained open, that our businesses are open during that holiday season.”

34 states report rise in cases

The President has said in recent days the country is rounding the corner when it comes to the pandemic. But alarming patterns across the country tell a different story.

At least 34 states reported more new Covid-19 cases in the last week than the week prior, according to Johns Hopkins data. In Georgia, health officials reported

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Total U.S. COVID-19 deaths could hit 500,000 by February, researchers say

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could surpass 500,000 by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks, researchers said on Friday, as 14 states set new records for one-day increases in infections.

The latest estimate by the widely cited University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reflects fears that cold winter weather will drive Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.

Nationwide, 76,195 new cases were reported on Thursday, according to a Reuters analysis, just shy of the single-day record high of 77,299 reported on July 16. Only India has reported more cases in a single day: 97,894, on Sept. 17.

“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.

The number of possible deaths could drop by 130,000 if 95% of Americans would cover their faces, the IHME said, echoing a recommendation by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar attributed the increase in cases nationwide to the behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a “major vector of disease spread.”

Asked about an assertion by President Donald Trump during Thursday night’s presidential debate that the United States is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, Azar told CNN that Trump was trying to provide hope to Americans waiting for a vaccine.

FILE PHOTO: Certified nursing assistant (CNA) Shameka Johnson, wearing NFL Green Bay Packers apparel, processes a nasal swab at a drive-thru testing site outside the Southside Health Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan

Pennsylvania, a swing state which is expected to play a crucial role in the Nov. 3 presidential election, reported its largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began.

“Daily increases are now comparable with what we saw in April 2020,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a statement issued on Friday.

Also reporting record one-day increases were the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

HOSPITALIZATIONS CLIMB

On Thursday, there were 916 reported fatalities in the United States, a day after the country recorded over 1,200 new deaths for the first time since August.

Also on Thursday, the number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals climbed to a two-month high. There are now more than 41,000 hospitalized patients with coronavirus across the country, up 34% from Oct. 1, according to a Reuters analysis.

North Dakota, with 887 new cases on both Thursday and Friday, remains the hardest-hit state, based on new cases per capita, followed by South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally.

Eight states reported record numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Friday: Alaska, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In Tennessee, hospitals in Nashville said they have experienced a 40% increase in

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U.S. COVID-19 deaths could hit half million by February as surge continues

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The COVID-19 death toll could reach a half million in the United States by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks, researchers said on Friday, a day after the number of new infections reported across the country approached a record high.

FILE PHOTO: Certified nursing assistant (CNA) Shameka Johnson, wearing NFL Green Bay Packers apparel, processes a nasal swab at a drive-thru testing site outside the Southside Health Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan

A study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that the pandemic could claim a total of more than 500,000 lives by February, up from the current death toll of over 221,000. The projection reflects fears that colder winter weather will drive Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread, and concerns that not enough people are wearing masks, experts said.

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all accelerating as cooler weather descends on much of the country. Nationwide, 76,195 new cases were reported on Thursday, just shy of the single-day record high of 77,299 reported on July 16, according to a Reuters analysis.

Only India has reported more cases in a single day: 97,894 on Sept. 17.

“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME director Chris Murray, who co-led the research. “We expect the surge to steadily grow across different states and at the national level, and to continue to increase as we head towards high levels of daily deaths in late December and in January.”

Even so, the number of possible deaths could drop by 130,000 if 95% of Americans would cover their faces, the IHME said, echoing a recommendation championed by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other leading medical experts.

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar attributed the increase in cases nationwide to behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a “major vector of disease spread.”

Asked about an assertion by President Donald Trump during Thursday night’s presidential debate that the United States is “rounding the turn” on coronavirus, Azar told CNN that Trump was trying to provide hope to Americans waiting for therapeutics and a vaccine.

A day after the president claimed, without citing evidence, that COVID-19 was “going away,” Pennsylvania, a hotly contested state in the Nov. 3 presidential election, reported its largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began.

“Daily increases are now comparable with what we saw in April 2020,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health wrote in a statement on Friday.

HOSPITALS STRETCHED

On Thursday, there were 916 reported fatalities in the United States, a day after the country recorded over 1,200 new deaths for the first time since August. COVID-19 deaths are up 13% from last week, averaging 785 a day over the past seven days.

Also on Thursday, the number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals climbed

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U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations hit two-month peak

By Shaina Ahluwalia and Anurag Maan

(Reuters) – The number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals hit 40,000 for the first time since August on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as the nation battles a surge in infections led by Midwest states.

Hospitals have seen a 36% rise in coronavirus patients over the past four weeks and Midwest hospitals are setting new records every day.

So far in October, 16 states have reported their highest daily numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 since the pandemic started, including the Midwest states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Hospitalizations of virus-stricken patients have set records in every region except the Northeast. Hospitalizations are a closely watched metric because they are not influenced by how much testing is done.

In addition to hospitalizations reaching 40,264 on Wednesday, the seven-day average of new cases of COVID-19 have risen 45% in the past four weeks and is also approaching levels last seen during the summer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

On Friday, the U.S. recorded 69,478 new cases, the highest single-day total since July 24 and the fifth-highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced that a field hospital in the Milwaukee suburbs admitted its first COVID-19 patient since it opened last week.

“Folks, please stay home,” Evers said. “Help us protect our communities from this highly contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”

In New Mexico, the governor warned on Monday that the state’s healthcare resources might not be enough if coronavirus cases continue to rise at the current pace.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has started a late-stage trial to evaluate if immune-modulating therapies from three drugmakers can help reduce the need for ventilators for COVID-19 patients and shorten their hospital stay. The study will enroll up to 2,100 hospitalized adults with moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms in the United States and Latin America.

(Reporting by Shaina Ahluwalia and Anurag Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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‘It Has Hit Us With a Vengeance’: Coronavirus Surges Again Across the United States

“We were hoping we had escaped the Covid-19,” Mayor Tim Mahoney of Fargo, a practicing surgeon, said in an interview. “Now we’re just like everybody else in the country. It has hit us with a vengeance.

“We kind of thought we’d outsmart it, and you can’t outsmart this virus.”

In other parts of the country, officials are also returning to another tried-and-true method of containing the virus: stay-at-home orders. On Tuesday, local health officials ordered students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to stay in their residences except for essential activities effective immediately, in an effort to control an escalating community outbreak.

Since Oct. 12, cases associated with the university have made up about 61 percent of confirmed and probable local infections, said Jimena Loveluck, the health officer for Washtenaw County, who warned that many cases have been tied to parties and other big gatherings.

“During the day, on campus, everyone’s fine and following the rules,” said Emma Stein, a senior news editor at The Michigan Daily, the student paper, who is now confined at home with her eight roommates. “But at night, on weekends, they don’t.”

The order could leave the campus unusually quiet ahead of Oct. 31, when the university is expected to play its first home football game of the season against its biggest in-state rival, Michigan State. For added deterrence, health officials are considering an extra kick: Within the week, officials said, the health department may start fining people who violate the order to stay at home.

In a sign of how quickly the virus is spreading in many parts of the Midwest and the Great Plains, infections recently overtook a private nursing home in northern Kansas.

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Coronavirus case increases hit record highs in at least 7 states

At least seven states have set new records for single-day increases in coronavirus cases, prompting some to set new restrictions as concerns mount over possible “superspreader events” during the upcoming holiday season.

Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and West Virginia all set records Friday in the number of new cases of the virus, NBC News’ tally shows.

Colorado recorded 1,312 cases Friday, the same day Denver’s mayor announced both a tougher mask mandate that requires residents to wear face coverings outdoors and a limit on gatherings in “unregulated settings” to no more than five people.

“Over the past several weeks, we have worked hard to reduce our caseloads and keep hospitalizations from increasing,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a press release. “But we need to do more. With the holidays on the horizon, we must take these additional steps over the next 30 days and knuckle down together to do the hard work that needs to be done so we can all enjoy this upcoming holiday season.”

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The mask mandate remains in effect until further notice, while the limit on gatherings is through Nov. 16.

Idaho recorded 1,094 new cases Friday, while Indiana and Minnesota each reported more than 2,200 cases, according to NBC’s data.

The governor of Idaho, Brad Little, said Thursday that the state was going to stay in stage 4 of his reopening plan after having failed to meet the criteria for a full reopening for the ninth time in a row, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Little urged residents to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“Our personal actions work better to slow the spread of coronavirus than anything else,” the governor said, according to the outlet. “This is about personal responsibility, something Idaho is all about.”

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said she was “very saddened” about the rise in cases, although she said some of it can be attributed to more testing.

“Some of the things that we maybe thought was O.K. to do a month or so ago is much, much riskier today just given this level of viral spread around our state,” she told MinnPost.

North Dakota and New Mexico also broke daily records Friday with 859 cases and 812, respectively. West Virginia and Wyoming each reported just under 500 new cases that day.

A spokeswoman for the New Mexico governor’s office called the increase in that state a “Covid-19 wildfire,” the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

“The virus spreads when people give it the opportunity to spread, and New Mexicans are doing just that,” spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett said.

In Wisconsin, health officials urged residents not to gather with anyone outside of their immediate families.

“I think people should think about all of the things that they’re doing outside of the confines of their immediate families as a potential place that they could be coming into contact with Covid-19,” said Andrea Palm, with the state’s Department of Health Services. “Now

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