New coronavirus infections in the US have hit a staggering high this week, the second week in a row with record highs. Hospital admissions have also increased rapidly, almost reaching a level that will soon eclipse the spring and summer peaks.
On Wednesday, the country recorded more than 100,000 cases in just one day, a threshold that Dr. Anthony Fauci warned US lawmakers could reach if the virus was not wiped out before winter.
By Thursday, cases were even higher to more than 121,000 in a day. New cases in the US are now an average increase of 55% from two weeks ago.
“Cases are growing exponentially in many different parts of the country,”; said Dr. Albert Ko, professor and chair of the Department of Microbiological Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health. .
The United States currently has an average of more than 94,000 cases per day, double the number a month ago.
Ko says it’s not unreasonable to think that the number of daily cases could double again, given the US’s current exploding trajectory.
Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Infectious Diseases at Geffen School of Medicine, said the increase could not be explained by more testing.
“There is no indication that the number of cases will decrease,” she said. “These are real increases; it’s not just about more testing.”
The trial has increased slightly over the past month but has not increased rapidly anywhere fast enough to account for this case increase. And the positivity rate is high in many states, a measure that shows when there are more infections in the community than recorded by testing.
The number of hospitalizations increased on par with the summer
When the infection spikes, it usually takes several weeks before being reflected in hospital admissions, and then several more weeks for a corresponding increase in deaths.
As of Thursday, hospital admissions have increased 14% over the past seven days, according to the COVID Monitoring Project. More than 53,000 COVID-19 patients are in hospital – close to the spring and summer peak when around 60,000 are hospitalized.
“We have a lot of hospitalizations at this point and I’m worried that in the next two or three weeks the number of cases could double – it will wreak havoc on public health,” said Ko.
The Midwest is still in the most precarious state. It currently has more cases per capita than any other region during the pandemic. Cases are growing fastest in these states, up more than 80% from two weeks ago.
According to the CDC analysis, Illinois had about 50,000 more cases in the past week, outpacing both Texas and California, places with much larger populations. And hospital admissions are on the rise, too.
“The increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations is not sustainable,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.
In parts of Wisconsin, state health officials say the hospitals are running at nearly or at full capacity. Many people have relied on referrals to different parts of the state, but that has become increasingly difficult.
“We’re on an island here,” said Dr. William Melms, medical director of the Marshfield Clinic Health System, which runs clinics and nine major hospitals in rural Wisconsin. “We’ll definitely be pushed to the limit by the end of the month.”
While the increase in hospital admissions is the most severe in the Midwest, at least 20 states with more than 1,000 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Texas leads the country. Several western states including Colorado and New Mexico have seen record numbers of patients hospitalized.
The situation is expected to only get worse as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors and travel for the holidays.
“This is when we have to be really wary, because we are entering a period of sugar diseases,” said Rachel Graham, associate professor of epidemiology at the Global School of Public Health at Gillings University. Respiratory circulation with much higher frequency. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As the number of deaths slowly increases, will door locks follow?
Since mid-October, COVID-19 deaths in the US have also increased from a daily average of around 700 to over 850. On Thursday, the US had more than 1,200 deaths.
Improvements in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 have helped reduce mortality so those hospitalized with the disease have a lower risk of death than earlier in the pandemic.
However, a person’s risk of dying from the disease “is still quite high,” Rimoin said. “It is higher than most infectious diseases, including the flu, ” she speaks. “Plus, it’s not just about deaths, but also about serious illness and disability.”
As hospitals fill COVID-19 and flu patients, state leaders will be forced to face unpopular decisions about the extent of economic shutdowns and restrictions on congregation, Graham said.
“Large-scale containment works in certain cases,” said Graham, who points to New York City’s success in stopping the virus. “It basically does enforce compliance and some places will be a lot more willing and maybe do another big batch of lockdowns.”
Northeast is currently facing a major rebound. Cases have increased by an average of 65% over the past 14 days.
Fierce spring outbreaks have made their mark in states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Albert Ko says that has caused people to change their behavior and follow public health guidelines, but “this protective effect is now fading and people are increasing social communication.”
As cases spiked, a number of states pushed back plans to reopen or introduce restrictions, including Illinois and Connecticut. But other states such as North and South Dakota, which continue to have the highest rates of infection per capita in the country, have resisted taking such steps.
In El Paso, Texas, the decision to shut down is with the local government, who are facing the prospect of their hospitals being overrun.
“This is a tough time where we don’t necessarily have to take our own cake and eat it. You want to open the bar, then you can’t open school. You don’t want to wear a mask, you’ll ‘see.’ more COVIDs, “Rimoin said.
There is still a chance to stop cases through aggressive public health actions, but day in and day out, record-breaking cases have spiked the country in hospital admissions – this This can put heavy pressure on medical staff.
“I’m really worried about what’s going to happen in places in the South and the Midwest where they don’t forcefully implement meat and potatoes on activities that benefit public health,” said Ko. page and social.
“The big question is how much damage has been done?”