Coronavirus cases across the United States soared to nearly 72,000 new cases on Friday, not long after the US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams warned it could be the worst week since the pandemic began.
The daily case count on Friday evening hit 71,950, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
That’s the fourth-highest number of cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began.
The three highest days for new infections were all in July.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams has warned the United States is likely to see its highest-ever daily infections this week. (AP)
Friday’s case tally continues the trend from Thursday when the US reported more than 70,000 new infections.
Thirty-two states have been reporting rising COVID-19 infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
Adams cautioned that hospitalisations are starting to go up in 75 per cent of the jurisdictions across the country and officials are concerned that in a few weeks, deaths will also start to increase.
The good news, Adams said, is that the mortality rate in the country has decreased by about 85 per cent thanks to multiple factors, including the use of remdesivir, steroids and better management of COVID-19 patients.
More than 41,000 people are hospitalised across the country, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
This is the highest level of nationwide hospitalisations since Aug 20.
The number of people hospitalised has increased by 33 per cent since the beginning of October, the CTP says.
Deaths are also creeping upward, with 856 on Thursday, Johns Hopkins says.
The seven-day average of deaths continues to climb and is up to 763 – the highest level of average weekly deaths in a month.
After changing PPE, an LPN dons her face shield at an Aveanna Healthcare and Fallon Ambulance walk-up COVID-19 testing site in Lynn, Massachusetts earlier this week. (Boston Globe via Getty Images)
In White House coronavirus task force reports obtained by CNN this week, officials say there are “early signs of deterioration in the Sun Belt and continued deterioration in the Midwest and across the Northern States.”
And more state leaders have sounded the alarm on increasing infections, hospitalisations and deaths.
Just one state is headed in the right direction
Oregon is the only state whose COVID-19 statistics are trending in the right direction, according to Johns Hopkins data, which also show:
At least eight states reported record-high hospitalisations on Thursday: Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio ,Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.At least 12 states saw their highest seven-day averages of new daily cases: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.And at least six states — Colorado, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah — reported their highest daily case counts.
In North Carolina, more than 100 cases have been linked to a church convocation event in Charlotte, health officials said Friday.
At least three deaths and a cluster of 12 cases at a senior living community have been linked to the events earlier this month at the United House of Prayer for All People, Mecklenburg County officials said.
In Nashville, Tennessee, hospitals are reporting a 40 per cent increase in patients.
Hospital officials said a major surge of new COVID-19 cases could threaten their ability to serve patients, with many diagnoses requiring hospitalisation.
Officials want people to ‘shrink their bubble’ to reduce spread
Social gatherings in Colorado will be limited to 10 people from no more than two households after a surge in coronavirus cases, health officials announced Friday.
The decision was based on case data showing that attending social gatherings and community exposures have become more common among new cases since July.
“We are asking all Coloradans to act with an abundance of caution to reverse these worrying trends,” Colorado Department of Health and Environment Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said in a statement.
“We need to keep gatherings smaller and with people from fewer households — we are asking everyone to ‘shrink their bubble’ to reduce the spread.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said on Thursday family gatherings are the top source of transmission in his state.
Experts fear the holidays might raise infections, with doctors worrying that college students returning home could bring the virus, with large family gatherings for Thanksgiving and other events adding to the spread.
Infectious disease experts say virtual celebrations might be best this year.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday that household gatherings have become a “major vector” of coronavirus spread.
“This is being driven by individual behaviors at this point,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.
“We’ve got to keep focused on washing our hands, watching our distance and wearing our face coverings when we can’t watch our distance, and in particular being careful in household gatherings.”
Study: Masks could save 100,000 by end of February
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says the “fall/winter surge has begun” – just a couple of weeks behind Europe – and will intensify in November and December before reaching a peak in January.
“Many states will face enormous pressure on hospital capacity and will likely have to re-impose some social distancing mandates,” IHME said.
“The best strategy to delay re-imposition of mandates and the associated economic hardship is to expand mask use.”
The IHME said in another study on Friday that if 95 per cent of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved through February.
The study notes that about 49 per cent of US residents report that they “always” wear a mask in public.
At that rate and with states continuing to remove social distancing mandates, the US death toll could reach about one million by February 28, according to the study.