October was a month of grim records in the Covid-19 pandemic, and as November begins, experts say the US hasn’t seen the worst of it yet.
From Alaska to Maine, at least 31 states across the US reported at least one record-high day of new coronavirus cases in the past month, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And 15 reported their highest one-day tallies of Covid-19 deaths.
The country’s seven-day average of new daily cases was 78,380 Saturday — a number that has risen 128.2% since a post-summer-surge low on September 12. With any potential vaccine still a ways off from possible distribution, and the colder months threatening to increase spread, experts emphasize more people need to regularly take precautions to stem the rise anytime soon.
“It’s the way we protect our neighbors and our communities. And we need to avoid crowds. We have to socially distance. You can’t go to a mass gathering now. We need to lower our viral footprint,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN on Saturday.
October was unprecedented for several recorded metrics associated with the pandemic.
Of the country’s seven highest daily tallies of new cases, six were in October. The highest — 99,321 recorded on Friday — was the most recorded in one day for any one nation so far.
The number of US Covid-19 patients in hospitals on Saturday, October’s last day, was 47,374 — 65.6% higher than it was on September 20, when it was at a low following the summer surge.
And Reiner said there is no sign that the number of daily cases will drop soon.
“We won’t peak until we change our behaviors. And our behaviors that principally need to change are our lack of masking all over the country,” he said.
The country has recorded more than 9.1 million infections and 230,548 deaths during the pandemic, according to JHU.
A spike in deaths could come, experts say
Hospitals could become overwhelmed as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday.
In El Paso, Texas, where hospitals are struggling to keep up with the number of Covid-19 patients, officials are preparing to add a third mobile morgue unit in anticipation of a spike in deaths.
“If that doesn’t put our situation into perspective I don’t know what will,” County Judge Ricardo Samaniego wrote on Facebook.
The number of hospitalizations is the best measure of how the nation is faring in the coronavirus pandemic, Murray said.
“They are a leading indicator ahead of deaths,” he said.
Murray and his colleagues at IHME
The United States set yet another pandemic record with more than 90,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in a single day, the latest NBC News tally showed Friday.
The new benchmark of 90,456 cases was hit Thursday just hours after the U.S. logged its 9 millionth coronavirus case and shattered the previous daily record of 80,662 infections, set a day earlier.
Also, the 540,035 new Covid-19 cases reported from last Friday, Oct. 23, to Thursday was the most for any seven-day period since July, the figures showed.
And with Election Day now just days away, the grim numbers stood in sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s oft-repeated campaign claim that “we are rounding the turn” on the pandemic.
Covid-19 infections have actually been increasing across the United States at the fastest rate since the start of the pandemic, and overnight more than 30 states reported having more than 1,000 new cases.
The U.S. now leads the world in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, with nearly 230,000 deaths, according to the John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard.
“The virus is a global scourge, but it has been an American fiasco, killing more people in the United States than in any other country,” the House subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis said in a scathing report Friday, which blasted the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic as “among the worst failures of leadership in American history.”
In other coronavirus news:
Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed Thursday that Covid-19 deaths have dwindled to “almost nothing,” despite there being around 1,000 reported in the United States that same day. The president’s son, who is not a physician, also said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” that the medical experts who have been talking about a surge in cases are “truly morons.”
- Nursing homes, small physician offices and rural clinics have been struggling to secure N95 masks and other PPE because bigger and wealthier health care facilities have been stockpiling them, NBC News reported.
- Restaurant owners who made it through the summer by serving patrons outside are worried they might not survive the winter as the weather turns colder and renewed restrictions are being considered as new Covid-19 cases are surging.
- San Francisco hit the brakes on further reopening the city after a slight-but-worrisome uptick in new coronavirus cases, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. “We are tired of COVID-19 but COVID-19 is not tired of us,” Mayor London Breed said.
- The temperature was expected to hit the freezing mark in Chicago on Friday night, but if you wanted to have a drink or meal inside a bar or restaurant you’re out of luck. New pandemic restrictions are in effect. And last call for outside drinking or dining is 11 p.m.
- Ninety-percent of
The U.S. recorded roughly 97,000 new coronavirus cases Friday, shattering the previous record for the highest number of new cases in a single day.
Data from the COVID Tracking Project showed there were 97,080 new cases Friday, ushering in an alarming new milestone that comes as dozens of states across the country see spikes in infections. The figure broke the previous record of 88,521 new coronavirus cases, which had been set on Thursday.
The nationwide surge in cases comes just ahead of a winter season during which experts say the increase will be exacerbated, as social gatherings move indoors where the virus can spread more easily.
“This is the hardest point in this pandemic right now – the next two months,” Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday. “We can’t give up our guard right now.”
The rise in cases virtually confirms that the coronavirus pandemic will be a top issue in the election next week, with polls showing large swaths of voters already saying the virus outbreak is their No. 1 issue.
The most serious outbreaks are being found in crucial political battlegrounds in the Midwest, including Wisconsin, which saw more than 5,000 new cases Friday.
The president has maintained the country is “rounding the turn,” but Democrats have torn into the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, noting his dismissal of guidance from government health experts.
“President Trump’s decision to mislead the public about the severity of the crisis, his failure to listen to scientists about how to keep Americans healthy, and his refusal to implement a coordinated national plan to stop the coronavirus have all contributed to devastating results: more than 227,000 Americans dead, more than 8.8 million Americans infected, and a dangerous virus that continues to spread out of control nine months after it reached our nation’s shores,” a report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said Friday.
More than half the states recently broke records in daily Covid-19 cases. Now hospitals brace for an onslaught
The fall Covid-19 surge keeps growing, with 29 states setting new records this month for the most new daily cases since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
And it’s not just due to more testing. The average number of daily new cases this past week is up 21% compared to the previous week, according to JHU. But testing has increased only 6.63% over the same time frame, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
“We’re rising quickly. If we just go back about six, seven weeks ago to Labor Day, we were at about 35,000 cases a day,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University School of Public Health.”
At least 73,240 new US cases and 985 deaths were reported Tuesday, according to JHU.
“I would not be surprised if we end up getting to 100,000” new cases a day, Jha said.
The surge is hitting all regions of the country. As of Wednesday, 40 states were trending in the wrong direction, with at least 10% more new cases this past week compared to the previous week, according to JHU.
Missouri is the only state with at least 10% fewer cases, and the remaining eight states are relatively steady.
Track the virus in your state and nationwide
And with more cases come more hospitalizations and deaths.
Without changes, ‘half a million people will be dead’
This month, 11 states reported their highest single day of new deaths since the pandemic began.
And because a vaccine probably won’t be available to most Americans until the middle of next year, personal responsibility will be key to saving American lives.
“If we continue our current behavior, by the time we start to go down the other side of the curve, a half a million people will be dead,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University.
Under the current conditions, the daily US death toll is projected to reach 2,000 by January 1, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
In the past nine months, more than 8.7 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 226,000 have died.
Imminent threats to hospital capacity
Even after setting up a field hospital at the state fairgrounds, Wisconsin is facing a dire predicament with hospital capacity.
“There is no way to sugarcoat it. We are facing an urgent crisis, and there is an imminent risk to you and your family,” Gov. Tony Evers said.
As the United States set records for the number of new coronavirus cases, states in every part of the country are reeling under the surge.
Two back-to-back daily records for single-day increases in U.S. cases were set on Friday, with 79,303 new cases, and on Thursday with 77,640, according to NBC News’ tally. The previous high of 75,723 was set July 29.
The total number of cases has reached 8.6 million, with over 225,000 deaths.
And the toll is being felt around the country.
Among the dead is an 18-year-old who was a student at University of Dayton in Ohio. “I think it is a wake-up call,” said a fellow student of the death of the teen, who had gone home to Illinois in September for remote study.
Illinois’ top public health official broke down in tears during a news conference Friday as she reported over 3,800 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to more than 370,000.
Ohio set another single-day case record after reporting 2,518 new cases Friday, bringing its total to 192,948, according to NBC News’ tally. “We can’t let this situation continue to domino out of control,” the governor said this week as the state put out a new ad with a visualization of how the virus spreads.
New Mexico has seen its cases double over the past two weeks to more than 40,000. “The threat of this virus remains very real”, the governor reminded residents.
South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was put under a one-week lockdown by the Oglala Sioux Tribe to slow the spread of the virus.
Idaho is also experiencing an uptick in cases that is starting to overwhelm hospitals in the state. “Our hospital is not built for a pandemic,” said a pulmonologist at a hospital in Coeur d’Alene.
New Jersey’s governor said Saturday he extended a public health emergency in the state for an additional 30 days in light of an “alarming rise in cases,” the highest since May.
And the top health official in one of Florida’s most populous counties discouraged parents from hosting birthday parties for their children, no matter the size.
The University of Dayton student died Thursday after a lengthy hospitalization, the school’s president said in a letter to the university community, reported NBC affiliate WDTN in Dayton. The university didn’t say whether the student, who was in his first year, was believed to have contracted the virus at the school or elsewhere. He had left campus on Sept. 13 to study remotely from home.
In Illinois, the state’s top health official, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, became emotional at a news conference where she noted the increase in the case count and that over 9,400 people have died of the virus in the state. “These are people who started with us in 2020 and won’t be with us at the Thanksgiving table.”
“We are seeing the number of people with Covid-19 continue to increase,” Ezike said. “We are seeing the number of individuals in the
Oklahoma topped new COVID-19 records Saturday, marking a one-day increase of over 1,800 new virus cases, the state health department reported.
Gov. Keven Stitt (R) moved on Friday to extend the state of emergency — an order that was first issued in March — for 30 days, according to an official press release.
“This health crisis still exists, and still needs to be addressed in various ways by executive order,” Stitt said.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health counted 1,829 newly-reported cases Saturday, adding to the state’s total of 115,685 since the outset of the pandemic.
Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Surge Plan Advisor Matt Stacy announced Thursday that Oklahoma City would move to Tier 2 of its hospital surge plan – a plan to transfer less severe patients to rehab and prioritize focus on potentially fatal infections, a CBS affiliate KWTV reported.
The health department also reported a record number of active hospitalizations for the virus Friday – 956 hospitalizations – down to 924 patients on Saturday.
Thirteen additional fatalities were marked on Friday, and 11 died from the virus on Saturday, the health department reported.
Oklahoma has recorded a total of 1,245 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic’s outset.
There are currently 15,740 active cases in the state, and records show 98,700 people have recovered from the coronavirus.
Still, the AP noted the actual number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many residents have yet to be tested.
Earlier this month, State Senator Kay Floyd, the Democratic Leader of the State Senate, wrote a letter to Stitt on behalf of Oklahoma Senate Democrats calling for more decisive action against COVID-19.
Floyd’s letter referenced the White House coronavirus task force’s early October report, which detailed Oklahoma as having the tenth highest COVID-19 positivity rate of any state in the country, a local NBC affiliate KFOR reported.
“Oklahoma faces a serious public health emergency in the fight to contain COVID-19. The Oklahoma Senate Democrats urge you to implement the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s recommendations,” Floyd said in the letter.
Studies show some carriers of COVID-19 may show moderate to light symptoms of the virus. In some cases, patients could be asymptomatic and unaware they are sick.
Virus cases in older adults or those with preexisting conditions should be treated seriously, as both factors could lead to more dangerous or even fatal respiratory symptoms.
MADISON, Wis. – Inside UW Health, the Covid-19 units keep growing — and the stress is rising.
“The people we’re seeing in here are very sick,” nurse Katie Lanoway said. “They are lonely. They are dealing with this alone and it’s becoming increasingly harder for us to try to manage, and playing all these different roles: playing the nurse, playing the support person. It’s very difficult.”
NBC News received a rare tour of one of thee units, which had previously reached its capacity of 28 beds. It’s currently down to about 20 patients. At first, the unit stretched just one hallway. Now, it’s four.
On Friday, Wisconsin reported a seven-day rolling average of its positivity rate: 22.7 percent. (That’s the percentage of tests that come back positive.) The same rate in New York is currently barely above 1 percent — and even that’s considered risky.
Wisconsin also set several records: most cases in a seven-day period (24,292)l the highest average cases per day (3,470) and the highest average coronavirus-related deaths per day (24).
Almost all of the state’s 72 counties now have what public health officials say is a “very high” level of the virus.
“It’s terrifying,” said Dr. Katie Gavinski, who started working at UW Health in Madison this summer. “I’m very scared that if this doesn’t stop soon, we’re going to end up with a much bigger problem come winter and flu season.”
The shifts are taking their toll.
“It’s devastating to see someone struggling to breathe,” Gavinski said. “You can see the fear in their eyes. You can see how scared they are.”
UW Health has had months to prepare, putting it in a better position than most. It has adequate personal protective equipment and it has the space to be able to rearrange Covid-19 wards. But if the flu season creates another surge of patients, staffing could be a challenge.
Dr. Jeff Pothof is UW Health’s chief quality officer and an emergency medicine physician.
“What I can’t do by the snap of my fingers is create critical care nurses, create critical care physicians and bring their expertise to the bedside,” he said.
Just across town, the Big Ten conference is set to kick off its college football season Friday night. There will be no fans in the stadium, no tailgating allowed and police plan to enforce rules banning outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people.
But health care workers have an urgent warning for those who don’t plan to take the virus seriously and will congregate anyway.
“The Badger game this evening does worry us,” Pothof said. “We have a very healthy culture of celebrating the Badgers, tailgating, parties — and if that happens this year, with how much Covid is in our communities, it is certain to cause a super-spreader event. … We need to celebrate the Badgers, but we need to do it differently.”
Compared to the beginning of the pandemic,
By Lisa Shumaker and Maria Caspani
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States on Thursday was the second highest on record, coming in just short of a midsummer peak as the spread of the novel coronavirus accelerates in nearly every region of the country.
Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all accelerating as cooler weather descends on much of the country. With 76,195 new cases on Thursday, the United States was approaching its one-day record high of 77,299 new cases on July 16, according to a Reuters analysis.
Only India has reported more cases in a single day: 97,894 on Sept. 17.
U.S. deaths are also trending higher, with 916 fatalities reported on Thursday, 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.
At the same time, the number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals climbed to a two-month high. There are now nearly 41,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients across the country, up 34% from Oct. 1, according to a Reuters analysis.
North Dakota, with 887 new cases on Thursday, remains the hardest-hit state, based on new cases per capita, followed by South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin. In terms of sheer numbers, Texas reported the most new cases on Thursday with 6,820 new infections, followed by California with 6,365.
Eight states set new records for single-day increases in cases, an ominous trend that is prompting some governors to issue new restrictions, including on bars and restaurants in some parts of Illinois. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah all reported their biggest daily increase in cases since the pandemic started.
Seven states reported record numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospital: Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the Midwest reached 11,369 on Thursday, a record high for a seventh day in a row.
Dr. Jeff Pothof, an emergency medicine physician at University of Wisconsin Health in Madison, expressed worry about lack of compliance with public health measures in the state where some groups have challenged Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ COVID-19 restrictions in court.
“If we don’t get that and we have such tremendous prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities, I don’t see a great way out of this,” Pothof said. “The picture isn’t rosy.”
The Northeast remains the one region of the county without a significant surge in cases, but infections are trending higher there, forcing Boston public schools to shift to online only learning this week. Vermont is a bright spot with no hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 16 new cases on Thursday.
In New York state, which was devastated by the pandemic in the spring, movie theaters will open their doors to live audiences for the first time in months, albeit at 25% capacity and with restrictions. But in New York City, theaters would remain
The US just topped 1,100 coronavirus deaths a day. One state is getting National Guard help, and others keep breaking records
You know Covid-19 is out of control when health officials are so overwhelmed, they can’t notify close contacts who may be infected.
That’s what’s happening in North Dakota, one of 31 states suffering more new Covid-19 cases this past week compared to the previous week.
Contact tracing is crucial to finding possible carriers of coronavirus, so they can quarantine and break the chain of infection.
But a “sharp increase” in new cases has engulfed contact tracers, leading to delays and “a backlog of positive cases that have yet to be assigned to a case investigator,” the North Dakota Department of Health said this week.
“Close contacts will no longer be contacted by public health officials; instead, positive individuals will be instructed to self-notify their close contacts and direct them to the NDDoH website, where landing pages will be created … explaining the recommended and required actions for both positive patients and close contacts.”
The North Dakota National Guard has shifted 50 soldiers from contacting close contacts to notifying people who have tested positive, the state health department said.
‘No safe period of time’ to be maskless with someone outside your bubble
Nationwide, all Americans need to double down on safety measures now that the definition of “close contacts” has expanded.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just broadened “close contacts” to include anyone you may have had brief contact with, within 6 feet, during a combined 15 minutes over the course of a day. (Previously, the CDC defined close contacts as anyone you had close encounters with for at least 15 minutes straight.)
“It reiterates the importance of everybody wearing a mask,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
Jha and other health experts say there’s nothing magical about 15 minutes, and that the public shouldn’t assume spending less time with people without masks is safe.
“There is no safe period of time to be with somebody who’s not part of your bubble if both of you are not wearing masks,” he said.
“It’s really critical that people wear masks if you’re going to be with somebody for any period of time, even if it’s less than 15 minutes.”
The new CDC guidance came after researchers discovered even brief exposures (less than 15 minutes each) with an infected person nearby can silently spread coronavirus.
“A mask can protect other people from the virus-containing particles exhaled by someone who has COVID-19. As many as half of all people who have COVID-19 don’t show symptoms, so it’s critical to wear a mask because you could be carrying the virus and not know it,” the CDC said.
Video: Iowa doctor warns “the virus is absolutely winning right now” (CNN)