An alarming new red wave map shows just how widespread COVID-19 has become across the United States as cases and hospitalizations surge to record highs and the daily death toll increases to levels not seen since May.
The number of new cases surged to a record high of 187,833 yesterday and more than 80,600 patients are now hospitalized across the country. Daily deaths surged to 2,015 – the highest number of fatalities per day since back in May during the initial peak of the virus.
The map, which was created by US government health officials, shows the number of COVID-19 infections per capita on a county level for last week.
The entire country is blanketed in red, which indicates that at least some counties in every state are reporting more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents.
The hard-hit Midwest is almost entirely dark red – meaning counties in those states have more than 500 COVID-19 cases per capita.
Midwestern states, led by North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, are currently the top three worst-affected states in the country for infections.
The red wave map was shown during a White House coronavirus taskforce briefing yesterday as Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx sounded the alarm over the rate of new infections.
This government map shows the number of COVID-19 infections per capita on a county level for last week. The entire country is blanketed in red, which indicates that at least some counties in every state are reporting more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents. The hard-hit Midwest is almost entirely a dark red – meaning counties in those states have more than 500 COVID-19 cases per capita
Daily deaths surged to 2,015 yesterday – the highest number of fatalities per day since back in May during the initial peak of the virus
The number of new cases surged to a record high of 187,833 yesterday and more than 80,600 patients are now hospitalized across the country
The map shows the same trends that were included in an internal government report that has not been released publicly but obtained by Yahoo News.
The report, which includes a series of other maps that track infections and deaths, shows there was 322 cases per 100,000 people nationwide last week.
The rate per capita was a 46 percent increase on the previous seven days.
Another map tracking deaths across the country show fatalities increased by 27 percent last week compared to the previous seven days.
During the COVID-19 taskforce briefing, Birx warned that the current increases being seen across the entire country was unlike anything seen in other waves that first struck the Northeast in the spring and Sunbelt states over the summer.
While the Midwest is currently hardest hit in this wave, the virus is also more widespread nationally.
Birx warned that while there have been improvements in treatments that means less people who are hospitalized are dying, tens of thousands of people will likely die before vaccines can become widely available.
‘This is more cases, more rapidly, than what we have seen before,’ Birx said. ‘This is really a call to action to every American to increase their vigilance.’
‘The increase in test positivity is around 10 percent. In some areas of the country, it is much higher than that. It illustrates the ongoing community spread in your counties, in your small and large metros and in your rural areas.’
The report, which includes a series of other maps that track infections and deaths, shows there was 322 cases per 100,000 people nationwide last week. The rate per capita was a 46 percent increase on the previous seven days. The Midwest and Northeast saw the largest percentage increases in new cases per capita last week
This map tracking total deaths across the country, not per capita, show fatalities increased by 27 percent last week compared to the previous seven days. Counties in the Midwest accounted for the majority of deaths last week
Birx also cited a graphic that shows rising hospital rates across the country. It indicates that North Dakota and South Dakota are most affected with more than 20 percent of their hospitalizations currently COVID-19 patients.
Fauci, who has been absent from taskforce briefings for months, returned to the White House yesterday where he echoed Birx’s calls for vigilance, saying Americans should wear masks and maintain social distancing as they await a vaccine.
‘I’ve used that metaphor that the cavalry is on the way. If you’re fighting a battle and the cavalry is on the on the way, you don’t stop shooting, you keep going until the cavalry gets here. And then you might even want to continue fighting,’ Fauci said.
The Midwest continues to be the hardest hit by this current surge with North Dakota the worst affected state based on cases and deaths per capita.
North Dakota has had the most new infections and deaths per capita in the last week with 177 infections per 100,000 people and 1.8 deaths, according to CDC data.
South Dakota ranks second with 161 new cases per capita and 1.7 deaths.
Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana and Utah have all had more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
The out-of-control surge is leading governors and mayors across the country to grudgingly issue mask mandates, limit the size of private and public gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving, ban indoor restaurant dining, close gyms or restrict the hours and capacity of bars, stores and other businesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a ‘strong recommendation’ yesterday that Americans refrain from traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
They also urged people not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.
The recommendation from the nation’s top public health agency is some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.
Despite the recommendations, long lines to get tested for COVID-19 have reappeared across the US as cases rise and people rush to get tested before reuniting with relatives.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States has jumped nearly 50% in the past two weeks, with more than 80,000 people being treated for the disease in hospitals across the country
CDC ‘strongly’ advises Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ‘strongly’ advising Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.
The recommendation from the nation’s top public health agency yesterday is some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.
With regard to those who do still decide to travel, the CDC recommends doing so ‘as safely as possible,’ which includes wearing a mask while in public, maintaining social distancing and washing hands often with soap and water.
In a bid to curb the spread, the CDC is warning that large indoor household gatherings this holiday season could make the situation even worse.
The CDC has advised against gathering with anyone who has not lived in the same household for at least 14 days, the incubation period for the coronavirus.
If families do decide to include returning college students, military members or others for turkey and stuffing, the CDC is recommending that the hosts take added precautions: Gatherings should be outdoors if possible, with people keeping 6 feet apart and wearing masks and just one person serving the food.
More than 20 states have adopted new mandates this month alone to confront the mounting crisis.
California governor Gavin Newsom yesterday imposed a curfew on social gatherings and other non-essential activities in one of the most intrusive of the restrictions being ordered across the country.
The stay-at-home order will go into effect from 10pm to 5am each day, starting Saturday night and ending on the morning of December 21, covering 41 of California’s 58 counties and the vast majority of its population.
A similar 10pm to 5am curfew order was issued in Ohio and will remain in effect for the next 21 days, Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced separately.
As in California, the Ohio curfew would not prohibit grocery stores from remaining open past 10pm, or keep restaurants from staying open late for takeout orders. Individuals would likewise be permitted to venture out for food, medical care, or other necessities, as well as to take a jog or walk a dog.
In California, the restriction essentially marks a return to the first-in-the-nation, statewide stay-home order that Newsom imposed in March, except it applies only during the designated curfew hours rather than around the clock.
Newsom and DeWine’s orders were among the most restrictive of various measures state and local government leaders nationwide have imposed on social and economic life this week as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have soared heading into the winter.
Minnesota has ordered a shutdown of restaurants, bars, fitness centers and entertainment venues from Friday until December 18 at the earliest.
New York City’s public school system, the nation’s largest, halted in-class instruction due to rising infection rates just weeks after allowing its 1.1 million students back into classrooms on a part-time basis.
Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his decision to close the schools as a necessary but temporary measure, and said he expects the state to shut down indoor restaurant dining and gyms in the city ‘within a week or two’ given rising infection rates.