Coronavirus cases are rising in US, triggering fears of second wave
Coronavirus infections are rising again across the U.S., driven by rapid transmission in Midwestern states and sparking fears that a another wave of infections has begun and continue in the winter.
For almost a month, new U.S. cases have been trending upward. Since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of case counts, and more than half of those states set records again on Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
The rising numbers are especially concerning because they set the stage for an even greater surge this winter when the virus will be helped by drier conditions and people spending more time indoors.
The virus has become especially rampant in Midwestern states after dominating U.S. coastal and urban areas in the spring, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
It is unclear what factors are driving the recent increase — whether it is the long-feared winter effect already taking place or the resumption of business and schools, or simply fatigue and people letting down their guard on social distancing efforts.
Because of day-to-day fluctuations in the reporting of cases, experts often look at the seven-day average of case counts to accurately spot trends.
In 40 states, cases are higher when compared with the week before.
Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota have set a new average high for cases each of the past eight days. More than a dozen other states have set new average highs in recent days.
“A lot of the places being hit are Midwest states that were spared in the beginning,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University 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.”
Even Washington, D.C. and some Northeastern states, including Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, are beginning to see case counts creep back up.
Hospitalizations for covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, have also begun rising in almost a dozen states — including Ohio and Pennsylvania — raising the specter that increasing death counts will soon follow.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 7,787,548 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 46,614 from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 338 to 214,446.