Nearly two-thirds of U.S. states were at risk of coronavirus spread, and six, including the Wisconsin election campaign, reported a record one-day rise in COVID-19 deaths Wednesday as the pandemic resurgence in Europe strained hospitals.
Coronavirus deaths hit new daily records in Hawaii, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, a state that also reported a record increase every day in new cases along with Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio, according to a Reuters analysis.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced that a field hospital in the Milwaukee suburbs has housed its first COVID-19 patient since it opened last week. “People, please be at home,” Evers said. “Help us protect our community from this highly contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”
European case numbers, which were largely brought under control by the unprecedented shutdowns of March and April, are also rising, and authorities in countries from Poland to Portugal expressed growing alarm over the renewed crisis facing their health infrastructure.
Belgium, which is struggling with what its health minister called a “tsunami” of infections, is postponing all non-essential hospital procedures and similar measures are threatening in other countries.
“If the pace of the past week continues, reorganization and suspension of non-priority activities will be inevitable,” said Julio Pascual, medical director at Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar.
A Belgian official said another shutdown could be introduced next week in the country, which has one of the world’s highest deaths per capita. Inhabitant.
In the United States, President Donald Trump has repeatedly opposed the reintroduction of restrictions, saying that economic recovery depended on people being able to return to normal life.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 people in the United States and thrown millions out of work, has taken a toll on Trump’s prospects for re-election. Negotiations on a new package of financial assistance from the coronavirus have been dragged out, and a deal seemed unlikely before the November 3 election.
Thirty-two out of 50 states have entered a danger zone with more than 100 new cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants over the past week, and nationally, the rate has reached its highest level since peaking in July, Reuters found.
A bloc of states in the Midwest and mountainous regions from Idaho to Illinois was a red zone along with Alaska that signifies rapidly increasing infection.
Nationally, cases have been rising higher for five weeks, rising to an average of 60,000 over the last seven days from a recent low of 35,000 a day in mid-September.
U.S. public health experts have warned for months that a premature return of social distance policies and the politicization of the use of masks could trigger a resurgence of infections.
‘Explosive growth’ seen
“We are not far from the period of exponential, explosive growth of # covid19 in the United States,” said Dr. Leana Wen, former health commissioner in Baltimore, on Twitter.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tightened up on Wednesday on the definition of “close contact” exposure that puts a person at risk, a standard that triggers contact tracking and can impact schools and workplaces.
Instead of spending 15 minutes at a time within 1.8 meters of an infected person to be considered close contact, the agency said the definition is now 15 minutes over 24 hours.
Similar to Europe, the rise in US cases raised fears that hospitals could be overwhelmed.
The Dutch health authorities said that if the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital wards continues to grow, three quarters of the regular treatment may have to be scrapped before the end of November and there were similar warnings from the Czech authorities.
“We have hit a wall on clinical beds,” said Wouter van der Horst, spokesman for the Dutch hospital association NVZ.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive, as did Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello.
To complicate Europe’s situation, widespread coronavirus fatigue and the frightening economic impact of the crisis have eroded broad public support for the lockdowns ordered earlier this year to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.
Governments are reluctant to close their countries again and have sought less drastic measures to curb public rallies and balance the need to keep their economies turned by holding back the pandemic.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Europe has registered more than 5 million cases and 200,000 deaths, with new cases starting to rise sharply from the end of September.
While well below the levels at the peak of the crisis six months ago, hospital admissions and occupancy on COVID-19 are again high – defined as at least 25% of the peak of the pandemic – or rising in 20 countries, the latest weekly survey said last week.
Authorities in Lombardy, the Italian region at the center of the previous wave, on Wednesday ordered the reopening of special temporary intensive care units set up in Milan and Bergamo, which were closed earlier this year as case numbers withdrew.
Already, a number of regional health authorities in Germany, one of the countries that treated the first wave most effectively, have agreed to take patients with intensive care from other countries.
On Wednesday, Irish authorities, which have tripled in five days since early October, said there were no longer enough officials to keep its contact tracking system running.