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It is hard to overstate the deterioration of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States in the past week, with new disturbing records appearing every day.
On Thursday, there were more than 150,000 new infections. It was only last week that the United States set a record of more than 100,000 infections per day for the first time.
“This is the worst since the pandemic. “Said Dr. Preeti Malani, Chief Health Officer of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Geriatrics at the University of Michigan.
Since the beginning of November, the number of daily cases nationwide has risen by more than 70%. In other words, in the past week, 19 out of every 378 people in the United States tested positive for COVID-19.
“The whole country is seeing a surge, and rural and urban areas are seeing a surge. This reflects the fact that COVID is so widespread.”
Although this week has brought some encouraging news about potential vaccines, the country is still in a dark month as people spend more time indoors and spend their holidays.
Malani, who is also a member of the American Academy of Infectious Diseases, said: “This is a very dangerous time.” “It’s not too late. We can still turn things around, but it requires a lot of effort.”
Here are some important gains from COVID-19 this week:
1. The hospital has never been so full
Nationwide, there are now more than 67,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. In contrast, the number of hospitalizations during the spring and summer peaks has stabilized, approaching 60,000 patients. Experts say there is no sign that the current trend will slow down. In fact, the opposite is true. Given the record increase in the number of cases, the rate of hospitalization may increase in the coming weeks, as some patients will eventually become seriously ill.
The Midwest and South (including Texas) account for more than two-thirds of all COVID-19 hospitalizations. The earlier wave was concentrated in a few places, but this fall’s surge hit many states at once. From Utah to Wisconsin to Iowa, the hospital warned that if the number of new patients does not slow down, this situation will be unsustainable. An NPR analysis found that at least 18 states have entered dangerous areas, where hospitals may be in danger of capacity, which may eventually require extreme measures such as quantitative care.
2. Parts of the Midwest and West are at a “critical point”
For several months, the virus has hit the Midwest. There is no sign of existence. In fact, in the past two weeks, the region is made up of 12 states, and the number of new cases per day has more than doubled. In the past week, the number of new cases in Illinois was much higher than in any other state, reaching 80,000, almost twice that of California.
In the United States, Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska have the highest per capita infection rates. Today, Wisconsin has more infections per capita every day than in New York City at the peak of the outbreak.
In the west, the governor of Utah said: “We are at a turning point.” Parts of Texas, especially El Paso, are in crisis due to rising death tolls and are transporting luggage in the morgue. Months after the number of cases in Montana increased, he was already feeling very frustrated, and doctors warned that the area was on the edge of disaster.
3. Countries are trying their best to implement new restrictive measures, but there are still loopholes
From Iowa to Connecticut, state leaders have begun to tighten restrictions and postpone their reopening plans. Some areas of California have stopped all indoor dining, including San Francisco. Minnesota has told restaurants to stop serving in person at 10pm and said the infection spreads fastest in the late evening.
Indiana limits the maximum number of gatherings, limiting their number to 25 in the worst-hit counties (although religious services are excluded). At the same time, New York imposes a curfew every night for indoor dining, gyms and bars. In Illinois, national leaders warned of a possible shutdown. Chicago has issued a stay-at-home consultation, although it is unclear how it should be implemented.
Some states are taking further action: On Friday, New Mexico announced an all-weather accommodation order, which will take effect next week, and non-essential businesses will be closed for in-person service. The governor of Oregon made a similar decision.
Public health experts cautioned that the country needs a consistent policy, not a bunch of restrictions that can only disappear in certain high-risk environments. As Anne Rimoin of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently told NPR: “This is a difficult time. We don’t necessarily have to eat cake and eat. You want to open a bar, then You may not be able to open school. You don’t want to wear a mask, you will see more COVID.”
4. New mask requirements-are they a bit?
Some national leaders who have resisted the mandatory use of masks have begun to stoop, but experts say these new measures are far from enough.
The Republican governor of Utah assigned the statewide mask task. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has restrictions on mask requirements, mainly for large gatherings. New regulations in Nebraska also only require people to wear masks when they are 15 minutes apart on average and within six feet of each other.
Moreover, many states do not have comprehensive statewide blocking requirements. Even so, compliance and enforcement are also issues.
Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Infectious Diseases Foundation, said: “We must make masks mandatory and once again emphasize that there is no group gathering of any kind.”
5. After a long plateau, the death toll is now rising
Since the summer, one of the few hopes has been the reduction in deaths. This trend is now changing. Since September 1, the average daily death toll has been less than 900, and the average daily death toll this week has exceeded 1,000. In the past week, the number of daily deaths has increased by approximately 23%. The current average is still about half of what was recorded at the peak of the spring in the United States, but public health experts warn that the death toll will be several weeks later than hospitalization.
The latest forecast by the University of Washington modeling team predicts that by mid-January, more than 2,000 people will die from COVID-19 every day, and the total number of deaths in the United States will reach approximately 440,000 by March. Modelers say that changes in behavior can still prevent this from happening.
6. Even the east and west coast countries that keep the case low are in trouble
Some areas of the country where the virus has been under control for several months have begun to grow. Take Northeast China as an example. In the past two weeks, the number of daily cases has nearly doubled. The average daily number of medical records in New Jersey and Massachusetts is still half of the hardest-hit states such as Minnesota and Michigan.
On the opposite side of the country, in Washington State, the number of cases has more than doubled since early November. Oregon followed closely behind. The situation in California is more complicated. Per capita income is still lower than in almost any other state, but there is still shocking room for growth, especially in the San Francisco Bay area and near San Diego.
7. The per capita infection rate in rural and suburban counties exceeds that in urban counties
The spread of the epidemic to rural America has been slow, but since entering these communities, the outbreak of the epidemic has not relaxed. The infection rate in most rural counties is still higher than anywhere else, and above large urban areas. Most of the pressure on hospitals in parts of the Midwest (such as Michigan, Kansas, and Utah) comes from rural areas, which need to transfer patients in need of care to metropolitan areas. “In Michigan, many new cases come from the western part of the state and sparsely populated areas,”Dr. Marani said.
In Dakota, the number is staggering. 1 out of 1,629 residents in South Dakota was hospitalized due to COVID-19, which is the highest per capita incidence rate in the country. The mortality rate in rural communities is also higher than in urban areas. Public health experts say that other public health crises such as HIV have similar patterns. It may take longer to reach the American countryside, but once you reach the United States, it is difficult to eradicate this problem.
8. Long-term care facilities are hit again
More than 40% of all COVID-19 deaths are related to long-term care facilities. These people are vulnerable to diseases due to their old age, and are prone to outbreaks in a common living environment. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were shocking examples of coronavirus tearing through nursing homes. Now, the COVID tracking project has found that the number of cases in these institutions has surged again, with more than 24,000 cases in these institutions last week. This week, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas accounted for about one-third of all nursing home deaths.