With nearly 9.5 million coronavirus infections reported to date, the United States is adding new infections at an unprecedented rate.
According to data tracked by The Post, the seven-day average for new cases hit a record high in 20 states across all parts of the country, with the largest increase taking place in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Iowa. Three states – Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming – also reported their highest daily deaths to date.
Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on Twitter Wednesday: “Now is the time to develop an experimental strategy to maximize our ability to define Silent epidemic of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. The tweet has drawn suspicious responses, with many questioning why such a strategy was not designed earlier.
The spike in cascades across the Great Plains and the Midwest has left hospitals struggling to find room for coronavirus patients – or importantly, qualified staff to look after them. Dozens of Kansas hospitals told the AP that they are expected to face a shortfall next week, while the Star Tribune reports that the number of nurses entering the quarantine means only 9 special care beds are available in the Twin Cities of Minnesota on Wednesday morning.
In Oklahoma, where a record 1,026 coronavirus patients are being treated in hospitals on Wednesday, doctors have called for statewide masking authorization and warned of an impending crisis. The President of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, George Monks, told KFOR that 19 patients are already being transported across the state as hospitals arrange the number of available beds and staff.
“We have to do something different,” Monks said. “The path we are on is unsustainable.”
Dakotas continues to record more new coronavirus infections per capita than any other part of the country – and parts of the world. A hospital in Rapid City, SD, has opened up space by transferring coronavirus patients who will soon be discharged to an unfinished additional facility that is still under construction, KELO reported. In North Dakota, there are only 12 special care beds available across the state on Wednesday morning, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
“We in North Dakotans are in crisis,” said Jeffrey Sather, staff director of Trinity Hospital in Minot, ND, on Tuesday, according to the newspaper. “The general population does not realize the difficulties the health system is going through unless you or your family are one of those patients who are transported across the state… or lie in ER instead of hospital beds. in 24 hours or more. ”
With both Europe and the United States seeing a significant increase in infections, China is making its already stricter border restrictions even more difficult. Starting Friday, visitors from the United States, France and Germany will have to undergo blood tests for coronavirus antibodies, in addition to a nucleic acid test for the virus, Reuters reported.
The presence of antibodies may indicate that a patient with covid-19 has recovered from the virus and is now immune, although there is no scientific consensus about the duration of such immunity. In a statement critical of the move this week, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said it was unclear “why a positive antibody test results in disqualifying the returnees, as many of them people with antibodies have been infected with the virus for months and are not at significantly greater risk than people without antibodies.
The Council also notes that in many countries, antibody tests are not widely available and frontline personnel are being given priority. Similarly, China requires that the results from the nucleic acid test be returned within 48 hours, which is not possible in many parts of the world.
Jacqueline Dupree contributed to this report.