Coronavirus cases rose this week in the US at the fastest pace since the pandemic began, with Midwestern states leading an autumn wave of increasing infections, hospitalizations and deaths that spread across the country a few days before the elections.
The U.S. reported its largest one-day surge in coronavirus cases on Thursday, with more than 88,000 new infections and more than 1,000 deaths for the second straight day.
In the past week, the US confirmed about 534,000 infections, a record for seven days since the disease spread across the country in March. On average, more than 76,300 cases per day were added during that time.
The surge coincides with the final sprint to the November 3rd election when Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden and their allies storm across the country to woo voters. Mr Biden has been extremely critical of Mr Trump's handling of the pandemic while the President has complained that too much attention has been paid to the disease, arguing that the US has already turned the outbreak around.
This is getting worse because we are going more into a colder season. . . We're going to have a lot more hospitalizations, and that will inevitably lead to more deaths
However, Mr Trump's claim has disproved a sharp surge in coronavirus cases in the United States in recent weeks, which coincided with a new wave of infections in Europe.
In cooler weather, the Midwestern states in particular have seen an increase in cases. The seven-day average in the region reached a record 26,498 new cases per day on Thursday.
Illinois and Ohio set New Year records for new infections with 6,943 and 3,845 respectively on Friday. Wisconsin had 5,096 new confirmed cases, the second highest daily increase since Tuesday's jump from 5,262, according to the state health department.
Particular attention has been drawn to this region as it contains some of the most closely observed swing states and the consequences of rising infections could get into the voting booth.
It's not the only region, however, that has seen cases increase over the past week. According to the Financial Times analysis of the Covid Tracking Project data, the 7-day average of cases in 48 states and the District of Columbia on Thursday was higher than it was a week ago. Hawaii is the only place in the US with an average of seven days down from four weeks ago.
In largely rural western states like Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota, cases have risen more sharply in recent days, while they are also increasing again in east coast states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which were hardest hit by the pandemic in the first few months.
New York hit half a million cases this week, and Florida became the third state to hit 800,000 infections on Friday. This may be a warning that some major states have put their multi-month effort into smoothing the curve or stopping into reverse.
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The average seven-day fall rate in the most populous states of California and Texas, as well as another summer hotspot, Arizona, has increased by at least 40 percent in the past four weeks. During the same period, hospitalizations in Texas rose 75 percent and Arizona 41 percent, but California rose 4 percent.
At least half of all US states are well on their way to seeing their largest monthly case volume in October. That brings the total number of infections confirmed nationwide this month to 1.65 million, currently second only after the 1.9 million cases added in July. Overall, the US has recorded nearly 9 million cases since the pandemic began.
October is also on track to be the deadliest month for at least 14 states, beating the previous record of 12 states in May.
While part of the increase in cases can be explained by the increase in nationwide testing capacity, and improvements in knowledge and preparedness for the disease have helped keep death rates lower than in the early stages of the crisis, hospitalizations have shown a worrying upward trend .
The number of people currently in U.S. hospitals with coronavirus exceeded 46,000 for the first time since mid-August. A record of 47 states and Washington DC now has more hospitalizations than it did four weeks ago, threatening to drain on resources.
Anthony Fauci, the foremost infectious disease expert in the United States and a senior member of the White House's coronavirus task force, said in a CNBC interview earlier this week that there are "a large number" of states that are "going in the wrong direction." go".
"This is getting worse because we are going more into a colder season, if we can get through the fall and winter with the Christmas season, we have to do something else," he said. "We can't just let that happen. We're going to have a lot more hospitalizations and that will inevitably lead to more deaths. So this is an untenable situation."
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