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US could soon see the highest number of Covid-19 cases ever on a daily basis, surgeon general says

An overflow medical facility set up at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis received its first patient as the number of people with Covid-19 admitted to hospitals rises.

Posted: Oct 23, 2020 4:51 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2020 4:51 PM

The number of Covid-19 cases reported across the country is rising so fast that US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warns it could be the worst week since the pandemic began.

"This week, we will probably have our highest number of cases that we've ever had on a daily basis in the United States," Adams said Friday at the Meridian Global Leadership Summit on Global Health Diplomacy.

More than 70,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the US for the first time in the past three months on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Thursday was the highest day for new infections since July 24 and the day with the fourth highest total ever, at 71,671. Thirty-two states reported rising Covid-19 infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far on Friday, there have been 50,852 new cases, Johns Hopkins says.

Adams cautioned that hospitalizations are starting to go up in 75% 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% thanks to multiple factors, including the use of remdesivir, steroids and better management of Covid-19 patients.

More than 41,000 people were hospitalized across the country, according to the Covid Tracking Project. This is the highest level of nationwide hospitalizations since Aug 20.

The number of people hospitalized has increased by 33% since the beginning of October, the CTP says.

Deaths are also creeping upward, with 856 on Thursday, Johns Hopkins says. The 7-day average of deaths continues to climb and is up to 763. That is the highest level of average weekly deaths in a month.

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, hospitalizations and deaths.

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 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 Friday that if 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved through February.

The study notes that about 49% 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 1 million by February 28, according to the study.

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 hospitalizations 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.

Health officials issued a stay-at-home order for all University of Michigan undergraduate students this week amid a spike in coronavirus cases.

"There's a little bit of Covid-19 fatigue going on," said university president Mark Schlissel.

"It's the undergraduate population. And the epidemiology of these cases shows us that they're not happening due to spread in our classrooms or in our campus facilities. They're happening under social circumstances, where small numbers of people let their guard down," he said on CNN's "New Day."

In Nashville, Tennessee, hospitals are reporting a 40% increase in patients. Hospital officials say a major surge of new Covid-19 cases could threaten their ability to serve patients with many diagnoses requiring hospitalization.

And in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said anyone not wearing a mask could get a $500 ticket.

Small gatherings, house parties helping drive the surge

In its state reports, the White House task force recommended "strong mitigation efforts," including "mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private."

That comes just days after the group expressed concerns about small household gatherings helping drive the surge of cases.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday family gatherings are the top source of transmission in his state.

Experts fear the holidays might raise infections. Doctors worry 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."

Remdesivir gets FDA approval

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 infection, the drug's maker, Gilead Sciences, announced Thursday.

The drug, sold under the brand name Veklury, has been used under emergency use authorization since May. It's the first drug to be approved for treating Covid-19.

"Veklury should only be administered in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care," the company said in a statement.

But earlier this month, World Health Organization officials said that a study had shown the antiviral drug has "little or no effect on mortality" for patients hospitalized with the virus and doesn't seem to help patients recover faster either. The WHO said the study provided "conclusive evidence" and the findings were disappointing.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318763

Reported Deaths: 3652
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin673361116
Ramsey28256505
Anoka22583228
Dakota22414190
Washington14207116
Stearns13976117
St. Louis8991112
Scott859755
Wright795543
Olmsted681134
Sherburne601541
Clay508957
Carver486215
Kandiyohi420522
Rice419237
Blue Earth418016
Crow Wing364034
Otter Tail321723
Chisago315612
Nobles309930
Benton305751
Winona284830
Douglas266837
Mower265823
Polk261224
Morrison233829
Lyon223011
Beltrami219218
McLeod217914
Becker209416
Goodhue208428
Steele19917
Isanti194217
Itasca193923
Carlton191316
Todd182514
Nicollet164026
Mille Lacs157031
Freeborn15546
Le Sueur148811
Cass146010
Brown145715
Waseca139811
Pine13958
Meeker13289
Roseau12194
Martin117420
Hubbard115725
Wabasha10781
Redwood97919
Chippewa9147
Cottonwood8964
Renville89529
Dodge8700
Watonwan8634
Wadena8156
Sibley8004
Rock7889
Aitkin77830
Pipestone74118
Fillmore7240
Houston7134
Yellow Medicine66512
Pennington6638
Kanabec62713
Swift5998
Murray5953
Faribault5732
Pope5531
Clearwater5268
Stevens5243
Marshall5059
Jackson4961
Lake4326
Koochiching3996
Wilkin3925
Lac qui Parle3863
Unassigned38559
Lincoln3651
Norman3537
Big Stone3242
Mahnomen3044
Grant2806
Kittson2298
Red Lake2163
Traverse1491
Lake of the Woods1011
Cook770

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 229327

Reported Deaths: 2395
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33896336
Linn14340166
Scott1132587
Black Hawk10968137
Woodbury10428129
Johnson964137
Dubuque927491
Story684522
Pottawattamie644070
Dallas641757
Sioux372725
Webster363936
Cerro Gordo359046
Marshall351246
Clinton333844
Buena Vista307314
Muscatine293469
Des Moines291620
Warren283214
Plymouth277142
Wapello257372
Jones233615
Jasper224344
Marion206821
Lee205017
Carroll199922
Bremer196712
Henry18417
Crawford176916
Benton171821
Tama154940
Jackson146513
Washington146215
Delaware144921
Dickinson140311
Boone138311
Mahaska127927
Wright12706
Clay11924
Buchanan118510
Hardin116510
Page11524
Hamilton11429
Clayton11238
Cedar109313
Harrison108630
Kossuth10847
Calhoun10757
Mills10647
Floyd106216
Fayette105610
Lyon10538
Butler10266
Poweshiek99713
Winneshiek98413
Iowa97612
Winnebago93124
Cherokee9014
Hancock8737
Sac8738
Grundy87111
Louisa86818
Chickasaw8664
Allamakee82811
Cass81823
Mitchell8035
Appanoose79912
Humboldt7855
Union7796
Shelby77311
Emmet76824
Guthrie76315
Franklin74321
Jefferson7252
Unassigned6950
Madison6924
Palo Alto6574
Keokuk6157
Pocahontas5644
Howard5619
Osceola5341
Greene5310
Ida50013
Clarke4904
Davis4739
Montgomery47011
Taylor4673
Monroe44712
Adair4418
Monona4402
Worth3690
Fremont3663
Van Buren3615
Lucas3296
Decatur3200
Wayne3027
Audubon3002
Ringgold2202
Adams1712
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