Now only five states are trending in the right direction — Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee and Vermont — while at least 36 are reporting more new cases than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
And states including Idaho, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases Tuesday.
In Kentucky, where the governor has long cautioned that infections were climbing quickly, he said Tuesday that “every day, things appear to be getting worse.”
“We are seeing not only a surge in the virus, but more and more of our kids by percentage who are getting it,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement.
Hospitalizations ‘sharply increasing’ in Midwest
Hospitalizations are “sharply increasing” in the Midwest, according to the project.
In Nebraska, health officials say a surge of infections have put a strain on hospitals statewide. Chief medical officers of three major hospital systems said Monday Covid-19 hospitalizations had increased 91% in the Omaha metro area between October 17 and October 31. Now, hospital capacity and staff are approaching their limits, the hospital officials said.
“We have seen a doubling of Covid positive patients in the last several weeks,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer of CHI Health, said. “No doubt if this trend continues, not just our hospitals, but every hospital in the state could be at capacity.”
In Indiana, hospitalizations reached a record high Monday, with more than 1,800 patients being treated for Covid-19. The state’s previous record was on April 13, when about 1,799 people were hospitalized.
Covid-19 third leading cause of death in Arkansas
And in Arkansas, the governor announced Tuesday Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the state, preceded only by cancer and heart attacks.
“It is a deadly virus that takes people’s lives,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “We want to make sure everybody understands the seriousness of it.”
And across the state, more than 660 people remain hospitalized, he added.
In the northeast and central areas of the state, bed capacity is “tight” according to Bo Ryall, president and CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association said Tuesday. About 10% of occupied beds have Covid-19 patients, 26% of occupied ICU beds have Covid-19 patients, while 31% of ventilators are used by Covid-19 patients at “some of the highest numbers that we’ve seen in those areas,” Ryall said.
“If we continue to see these cases escalate, we in turn will have hospitalizations increase, and the stress on the health care system will be felt. Hospitals are stretched thin in some areas and we ask that you please adhere to the safety measures again,” Ryall said.
NIH Director: Masks could save 130,000 lives by March
Face masks, a powerful tool that doctors and public health officials have vouched for in the battle against the virus, can help save tens of thousands of lives in the coming months, one leading expert helped emphasize this week.
“What’s important here aren’t the precise numbers,” Francis wrote. “It’s the realization that, under any scenario, this pandemic is far from over, and, together, we have it within our power to shape what happens next.”
It’s an argument that’s been made multiple times in the past months by officials nationwide: if Americans wore face coverings, social distanced, avoided crowds and washed their hands regularly, those measures could be nearly as powerful as lockdowns in helping curb the spread of the virus.
“Think about it in the same way you think about putting on your seat belt — a minor inconvenience that can save lives,” Collins wrote. “I’m careful to wear a mask outside my home every time I’m out and about. But, ultimately, saving lives and livelihoods as we head into these winter months will require a collective effort from all of us.”
CNN’s Claudia Dominguez, Joe Sutton and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.