U.S. surpasses 8 million COVID-19 cases

Oct. 19, 2020

The United States surpassed 8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, as a new surge of infections in the Midwest and West brings daily case numbers back to levels not seen since the peak days of July and early August, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

The U.S. reported over 63,500 new COVID-19 cases, with more than 800 new deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard. It is the first time since August 1 that the nation has recorded more than 60,000 new infections in a single day. The overall number of new daily infections has been climbing since mid-September, and the national 7-day moving average of new cases is at 53,400.

The impact of the rise in new cases is reflected in the country's hospitalization numbers. Data from the COVID Tracking Project show that over 37,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, up from almost 29,000 on September 28. Throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 hospitalizations have typically started rising a few weeks after increases in new infections.

Among the states where hospitals are starting to feel the strain is Wisconsin, where COVID-19 hospitalizations recently hit an all-time high of over 1,000, with 264 people in intensive care units (ICUs), according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. State health officials told the paper that ICUs across the state are more than 90 percent full, and hospitals in every region are reporting current or imminent staffing shortages.

Elsewhere in the country, Indiana health officials say COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen to their highest level since May, and the Kansas City Star reports that some Kansas City area hospitals are turning away ambulances with COVID-19 patients because their beds are already filled. Both Missouri and Kansas are seeing surges in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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