As Winter Arrives, U.S. States Observes Record Surge in COVID-19 Cases

Nine U.S. states have recorded record surges in COVID-19 cases over the last week. The cases were reported from most in the upper Midwest and West where cold weather is forcing more activities indoors.

Most Affected States

On Saturday alone, four states, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin observed a record rise in new cases, and nationally about 49,000 new infections were reported, the highest for a Saturday in seven weeks. Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Wyoming also established new records for cases last week.

New York is one of only 18 states where cases have not increased substantially over the past two weeks, according to an analysis. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated on Sunday that he is moving to shut non-essential businesses as well as schools in nine neighborhoods, beginning on Wednesday. The lockdown would need the governor’s approval.

Health experts have been warning for a long time that colder temperatures driving people inside could instigate the spread of the virus. Daytime highs in the upper Midwest are now in the 50s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius).

Montana has recorded a staggering number of new cases for three out of the last four days and also has a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals.

Wisconsin has established records for the latest cases two out of the last three days and also reported record hospitalizations on Saturday. On average 22% of tests are coming positive, which is one of the highest rates in the country.

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor mandated masks on August 1; however, Republican lawmakers are supporting a lawsuit challenging the requirement. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have the highest new cases per capita in the country.

Overcrowded Hospitals

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is one of many prominent Republicans who have tested positive for coronavirus since President Donald Trump declared he had contracted the virus.

Due to the surge in cases in the Midwest, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities operated by Aspirus in northern Wisconsin and Michigan are restricting most visitors as they did earlier this year.

Bellin Health, which operates a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, stated last week that its emergency department has crossed its capacity at times and doctors had to place patients in beds in the hallways.

The United States is registering 42,600 new cases and 700 deaths on average each day, compared with 35,000 cases and 800 deaths in mid-September. Deaths are a lagging indicator and tend to grow various weeks after cases rise.

Kentucky is the first Southern state to register a record surge in cases in many weeks. Governor Andy Beshear stated last week was the highest number of cases the state has reported since the pandemic started.

State health experts have not deduced the reason for the surge; however, point to fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students getting back to schools and colleges. Over the last two weeks, Kentucky has registered about 11,000 new cases and has seen hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients surge by 20%.