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COVID Cases Are Soaring In These 20 States

To save lives, here's the most important thing you can do.

The "second wave" of COVID-19 is here. Since last Saturday, more than 20 states have set records for their seven-day average of new coronavirus cases, the Washington Post reported. On Tuesday, at least half of those states broke their records again. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Certain states have set COVID-19 records this week

In 40 states, cases increased from week to week. Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota have set a new COVID-19 record for each of the past eight days, the Post said. 

Cases are even rising steadily in early hotspots like New York, which drove down infection rates this summer with measures like mask mandates and social distancing.

According to the Post, the states with the highest weekly increase in COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents were North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Utah, Idaho, Iowa, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi and Nevada.

"A lot of the places being hit are Midwest states that were spared in the beginning," said William Hanage, a Harvard infectious-diseases researcher. "That's of particular concern because a lot of these smaller regions don't have the ICU beds and capacity that the urban centers had."

For example, on Monday CNN reported that North Dakota had only 20 ICU beds available across the state.

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

"The worst possible thing that could happen"

Health officials have long warned that this fall and winter could produce an explosion in coronavirus cases, as cooler weather ushers people indoors, where the virus is more easily transmitted.

The nation's seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has consistently topped 40,000. On Oct. 11, the count exceeded 50,000—five times higher than the 10,000 daily cases Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has said was an acceptable maximum heading into flu season.

Fauci said on Monday he hoped the numbers "jolt the American public into a realization that we really can't let this happen, because it's on a trajectory of getting worse and worse."

The rising case rate is "the worst possible thing that could happen as we get into the cooler months," he added.

The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, also issued a warning to states about the holidays. "In the public square, we're seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions," he said during a call with America's governors on Tuesday. "But what we're seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings…Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it's really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting."

RELATED: Everything Dr. Fauci Has Said About Coronavirus

Do this to save lives this winter

The coronavirus has killed at least 215,000 Americans since the start of the pandemic in February. More than 7.8 million cases have been reported overall.

One model published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that U.S. deaths could surpass 394,000 by Feb. 1. 

The agency estimates that if everyone wears a face mask, 79,000 lives could be saved.

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael