Virus rages in most US states – World –
FILE PHOTO: A view shows the entrance to the emergency room of Avera St. Luke’s Hospital as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Aberdeen, South Dakota, US, October 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]
The COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the United States, setting daily caseload records, straining medical facilities and forcing some governors to impose new or tighter restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing.
Coronavirus infections are rising in 46 states, while 29 states are setting weekly case records, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Tuesday, the country hit another one-day record — more than 139,000 new cases, along with more than 1,440 additional deaths. COVID-19 hospitalizations hit an all-time high of 61,964.
Daily caseloads on Tuesday hit record levels in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, according to Johns Hopkins.
One in 441 Americans has tested positive for the virus in the last week. The US surpassed 20 million known cases on Sunday, more than any other country.
The raging pandemic is making some governors reintroduce restrictions or impose new ones.
In New York City, officials are trying to contain an outbreak in the borough of Staten Island and bracing for a second wave of cases citywide.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday declared most of the borough a “yellow zone”, limiting outdoor and private indoor gatherings and capping attendance at places of worship.
Cuomo also announced that bars, restaurants and gyms across the state must close at 10 pm starting Friday and that private residential gatherings shouldn’t exceed 10 people. He said contact tracers identified bars and restaurants, indoor gatherings and gyms as helping drive the virus’ spread.
Neighboring New Jersey is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases statewide not seen since June. In Newark, the state’s largest city, over the last four days there have been 842 new cases, and 19 percent of people tested over three days last week were found to have the virus, city and county officials said.
On Tuesday, statewide there were 3,877 new cases reported, a figure the governor called “devastating”. On Wednesday, 3,078 additional cases were recorded. Hospitals reported 15 coronavirus deaths.
Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz announced Tuesday that by week’s end, bars and restaurants must stop serving at 10 pm. He also put new caps on weddings, funerals and other social gatherings.
Utah’s outgoing governor, Republican Gary Herbert, has declared a state of emergency aimed at easing hospital overcrowding and quelling the spike in infections. The move includes a statewide mask mandate and a household-only requirement on social gatherings for two weeks.
“We cannot afford to debate this issue any longer,” Herbert said in a video posted to Twitter. “Individual freedom is certainly important, and it is our rule of law that protects that freedom.”
Texas became the first state in the country to surpass 1 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. It identified 1,010,364 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, with a death toll of 19,337. Slightly more than 6,000 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19.
In El Paso, Texas, according to CNN, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Tuesday requested four additional mobile morgues to handle the deceased in addition to the six already in operation.
Samaniego, who issued a two-week curfew order for the city of 680,000 on Oct 26, predicted as many as 20 deaths a day for the next two weeks.
As of Tuesday, total active cases reached 27,000. The number of hospitalized patients increased by 142 to 1,076; the number of patients in ICU units has increased by 74, while the death toll rose by 97 to 682.
The University Medical Center, a teaching hospital in El Paso, set up tents in a parking lot to care for patients. A downtown convention center became a field hospital, and the state began airlifting dozens of intensive care patients to other cities to free up more space.
In Oklahoma, hospital officials said they have hired hundreds of additional nurses on a contract basis. Hospital executives in several states say that a shortage of nurses and other medical personnel is limiting their ability to add more hospital beds to care for patients.
“Everywhere is either hard hit or is watching their COVID numbers go up and are expecting to get a lot of flu patients,” said Nancy Foster, a vice-president of the American Hospital Association. “The ability of health care professionals to pick up and leave their hometowns is very limited.”
In Wisconsin, now among the hardest-hit states, a major health care provider, Aurora Health Care, announced it would pause testing sites in some cities and focus on bedside care. Hospitalizations in the greater Milwaukee area have increased fivefold in the past two months.
Dr Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said that the Trump administration had “basically thrown in the towel” on trying to control the pandemic, while Democrat Joe Biden and his team have nothing to wield but “moral power and social power” as the former vice-president prepares to move into the White House on Jan 20.
“Without significant action,” he said, “the idea that we have another 100,000 deaths by Inauguration Day would be a conservative estimate.”