US sets weekly record with over 500,000 new COVID-19 cases

Source: The Hill | October 29, 2020 | Nathaniel Weixel

The U.S. on Thursday set a new weekly record for COVID-19 infections with more than 500,000, according to data from the COVID Tracking project, as a wave of cases builds ahead of winter.

Twenty-five states have set a new record for cases in the last two weeks, including 17 states with record highs since last Wednesday.

Unlike in the spring and summer, however, the cases are more geographically dispersed. The first sign of the surge began in Wisconsin. It is now one of the three worst-hit states, along with North Dakota and South Dakota.

The number of infections will continue to rise as the weather gets colder and more people congregate indoors.

“At this point, we see no evidence that any state in the current surge has reached its peak and begun to decline,” the coronavirus tracking organization noted.

The country is averaging more than 70,000 cases a day over the past week, and hospitals in some states are close to being overwhelmed.

Hospitalizations nationally have risen to an average of almost 43,000 people, up from around 30,000 at the beginning of the month. Those numbers are still growing, according to the COVID Tracking Project, though they are not close to the hospitalization peaks of almost 60,000 from the spring and summer.

The rise in hospitalizations is widely used as an indicator to show that the spread of the virus is worsening in the United States.

COVID-19 deaths have also risen, but not as sharply as hospitalizations. Death is always a lagging indicator though, and the current surge is only about three weeks old, so the number of deaths is expected to rise in the coming weeks. 

However, one spot of positive news is that the fatality rate for hospitalized patients has declined. Treatments have improved, and an increasingly larger percent of the sick population are younger and healthier.

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