Thursday was the highest day for new infections since July 24 and the day with the fourth highest total ever, at 71,671, Johns Hopkins says.
More than 41,000 people were hospitalized across the country, according to the Covid Tracking Project. This is the highest level of nationwide hospitalizations since Aug 20.
The number of people hospitalized has increased by 33% since the beginning of October, the CTP says.
Deaths are also creeping upward, with 856 on Thursday, Johns Hopkins says. The 7-day average of deaths continues to climb and is up to 763. That is the highest level of average weekly deaths in a month.
In White House coronavirus task force reports obtained by CNN this week, officials say there are “early signs of deterioration in the Sun Belt and continued deterioration in the Midwest and across the Northern States.” More state leaders have sounded the alarm on increasing infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Study: Masks could save 100,000 by end of February
“Many states will face enormous pressure on hospital capacity and will likely have to re-impose some social distancing mandates,” IHME said. “The best strategy to delay re-imposition of mandates and the associated economic hardship is to expand mask use.”
The IHME said in another study Friday that if 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved through February.
The study notes that about 49% of US residents report that they “always” wear a mask in public.
At that rate and with states continuing to remove social distancing mandates, the US death toll could reach about 1 million by February 28, according to the study.
Just one state is headed in the right direction
Oregon is the only state whose Covid-19 statistics are trending in the right direction, according to Johns Hopkins data, which also show:
- At least eight states reported record-high hospitalizations Thursday: Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio ,Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
- At least 12 states saw their highest seven-day averages of new daily cases: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
- And at least six states — Colorado, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah — reported their highest daily case counts.
Health officials issued a stay-at-home order for all University of Michigan undergraduate students this week amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
“There’s a little bit of Covid-19 fatigue going on,” said university President Mark Schlissel.
“It’s the undergraduate population. And the epidemiology of these cases shows us that they’re not happening due to spread in our classrooms or in our campus facilities. They’re happening under social circumstances, where small numbers of people let their guard down,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced regional restrictions.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said anyone not wearing a mask could get a $500 ticket.
“There are already laws on the books,” she said. “It’s just a matter of taking that step to enforce, based on our police officers’ discretion.”
Utah announced additional efforts for more than 20 counties at high transmission risks. Those efforts include limiting casual social gatherings to 10 people.
Small gatherings, house parties helping drive the surge
In its state reports, the White House task force recommended “strong mitigation efforts,” including “mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday family gatherings are the top source of transmission in his state.
Experts fear the holidays might raise infections. Doctors worry that college students returning home could bring the virus, with large family gatherings for Thanksgiving and other events adding to the spread. Infectious disease experts say virtual celebrations might be best this year.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday that household gatherings have become a “major vector” of coronavirus spread.
“This is being driven by individual behaviors at this point,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “We’ve got to keep focused on washing our hands, watching our distance and wearing our face coverings when we can’t watch our distance, and in particular being careful in household gatherings.”
Remdesivir gets FDA approval
The drug, sold under the brand name Veklury, has been used under emergency use authorization since May. It’s the first drug to be approved for treating Covid-19.
“In the United States, Veklury is indicated for adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kg) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization,” the company said in a statement.
“Veklury should only be administered in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein, Rebekah Riess, Gregory Lemos, Maggie Fox, Melissa Alonso and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.