Experts Warn of New Virus Surge
For months health experts have been warning that during the fall and winter months, COVID-19 would likely make a major resurgence due to a variety of factors including children returning to school, dropping temperatures, and family gatherings during holidays. However, the United States is just a few weeks into autumn and already, health experts are concerned that we are in the beginning stages of a serious surge due to an increase in cases in the majority of states as well as increased hospitalizations. Read on, and also don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Infections Are Increasing Across the Country
Per the latest statistics courtesy of Johns Hopkins University, 38 states (including District of Columbia) experienced an increase of COVID-19 cases in the last week. They are:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakotah
- West Virginia
During a Monday interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the NIH and key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, expressed concern about the increase in cases across the country. "It's going in the wrong direction right now, so if there's anything we should be doing, we should be doubling down in implementing the public health measures that we've been talking about for so long, which are keeping a distance, no crowds, wearing masks, washing hands, doing things outside as opposed to inside, in order to get those numbers down," he said.
"We're entering into the cooler months of the fall and ultimately the cold months of the winter, and that's just a recipe of a real problem if we don't get things under control before we get into that seasonal challenge," said Fauci.
On Oct. 11, the nation's seven-day moving average count of COVID cases exceeded 50,000 — a whopping five times higher than the 10,000 daily cases Fauci has continued to deem acceptable as we head into the winter months when a surge is inevitable.
The Northeast Is Showing Signs of a New Surge
Last week, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned that the Northeast was starting to demonstrate "early suggestions" of a potential surge, after keeping the virus under control for the last several months.
"It's early here," Birx said at a press conference Thursday, after participating in a roundtable discussion at the University of Connecticut's campus in Hartford. "We can continue in the Northeast to contain the virus."
She also warned that the current situation in the region "is very different from the spread we experienced in March and April" and "what we did in the spring is not going to work in the fall."
"This is the moment to really increase asymptomatic testing, increase outreach to the communities, making sure that every community member knows that if they're with individuals outside of their household, it could be a COVID-spreading event. Physically distancing and masks work, even indoors," she said.
Hospitals Are Reaching Capacity
In North Dakota, the healthcare system is close to being overwhelmed. "Right now, the hospitals have less than 20 beds available across the state," Renae Moch, director of Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, told CNN, later clarifying that she meant to say "staffed ICU beds." Newsweek also reports that on Monday, the state's department of health reported 475 new COVID-19 cases — double the number of non-ICU hospital beds available in the entire state. "The number of cases continue to climb due to the fact that many in the community are carrying on activities as they did prior to the pandemic," Moch added to Newsweek. "There are large gatherings and weddings taking place with no social distancing measures implemented and a majority do not wear masks in public which leads to increased cases and clusters."
In Colorado, the hospitalization rate is the highest it has been since mid-May, during the first and most devastating surge of the virus. As of Monday, 77% of Colorado's 1,977 ICU beds were in use. According to Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the state health department, the state is in a "third wave."
In fact, nationwide the hospitalization rate is increasing. According to the COVID Tracking Project, since Friday 10 states have shattered their own hospitalization records, with more than 35,000 people across the country currently taking up a hospital bed.
More Children Are Testing Positive
And, more children are testing positive for the virus, with a 13% increase in the last two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association shows. The report found a 13% increase in child cases reported from September 24 to October 8—with more than 77,000 new reported infections. As for yourself, wear a mask, avoid crowds, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.