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Covid cases, hospitalizations continue to surge as U.S. reaches ‘critical point’ in pandemic

  • Three dozen states reported that the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 rose by at least 5% over the past week.
  • “We are at another critical point in the pandemic response,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the government’s testing effort.
  • Giroir went on to emphasize that “we can control the virus” by following public health measures like social distancing, mask wearing, avoiding crowded gatherings and the frequent washing of hands.

a group of people standing around a plane: Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) arrive with a correctional patient at North Shore Medical Center where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients are treated, in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 14, 2020.

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Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) arrive with a correctional patient at North Shore Medical Center where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients are treated, in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 14, 2020.

The United States is reporting another record-high average number of new cases of the coronavirus as a top health official warned Wednesday that the country is at a “critical point.”

The U.S. reported 73,240 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average of new cases up to about 71,832, a fresh record and an increase of more than 20% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Three dozen states reported that the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 rose by at least 5% over the past week, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, which tracks testing, hospitalization and other data on the outbreak. Cases are up by at least that amount in 45 states, according to Hopkins data.

“As the nation did after Memorial Day, we are at another critical point in the pandemic response,” Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the government’s testing effort, said Wednesday on the TODAY show. “Cases are going up in most states across the country. Hospitalizations are up, although we’re still tens of thousands of hospitalizations below where we were in July, but that is rising. And we are starting to see the increase in deaths.”

chart, histogram

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Giroir acknowledged that increased testing alone cannot explain the surge in cases, even as President Donald Trump attributes the surge to testing alone and continues to downplay the outbreak.

Giroir went on to emphasize that “we can control the virus” by following public health measures like social distancing, mask wearing, avoiding crowded gatherings and the frequent washing of hands.

The surge in cases and hospitalizations is beginning to overwhelm some hospitals in parts of the country. The Salt Lake Tribune reported over the weekend that the Utah Hospital Association is asking the governor to allow them to ration care. And in Texas, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego issued a curfew on Sunday to protect “overwhelmed and exhausted” hospitals and workers.

Public health specialists and epidemiologists have warned for months that the virus would likely surge as the weather turned colder in the fall and winter. That’s largely because people are more likely to stay indoors in colder weather and because some epidemiologists believe the virus can spread more easily through colder, drier air.

Dr. Bill

Pence to continue campaigning after ‘close contact’ staff contract coronavirus

Multiple senior aides to the vice president have recently tested positive for COVID-19

While a number of people in Mike Pence‘s inner circle recently tested positive for COVID-19, the vice president reportedly has no plans to cancel his scheduled campaign events with the General Election drawing within a week away.

Pence apparently does not plan to self-quarantine to be sure not to spread coronavirus under the guise of being an essential worker, should he have unknowingly contracted the virus from one of his staff members. He and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative on Saturday and Sunday, as reported by The New York Times.

According to spokesman Devin O’Malley, Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short tested positive for the disease on Saturday. In addition to Short, four other members of his staff have also contracted the virus that has caused a global pandemic. Marty Obst, one of Pence’s advisors, also tested positive earlier this week, a person familiar with the matter said.

Vice President Mike Pence (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
Vice President Mike Pence (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

 “While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel,” O’Malley stated.

Pence, under his role as second in command to President Donald Trump, is in charge of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

READ MORE: Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t think he can get COVID-19: ‘It’s mutual respect’

Despite these positive tests affecting people so near to him, Pence is choosing to continue traveling around the nation under his separate capacity as a vice presidential candidate and surrogate for the Trump reelection campaign, less than 10 days out from the Nov. 3 election. This comes weeks after Trump and First Lady Melania Trump contracted coronavirus earlier this month. The disease hospitalized the president for days.

Since the President’s diagnosis, it was reported that several other members of the Administration had contracted COVID-19. This includes former political advisor Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, policy advisor Stephen Miller and campaign manager Bill Stepien.

Questions surrounding the safety protocols at the White House concerning coronavirus have been raised heavily since it penetrated to heavily weeks ago. President Trump has also returned to holding public campaign rallies, and the Washington Post reported that during the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, guests of Trump opted not to wear masks during the broadcast.

Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite an apparent outbreak of the coronavirus among his senior aides, the White House says. O’Malley said the vice president and his wife “remain in good health.”

READ MORE: Fauci advocates mask mandate amid COVID-19 surge across US

Trump commented on Short early Sunday after his plane landed at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington.

“I did hear about it just now,” he said. “And I think he’s quarantining. Yeah. I did hear

Stan Gerson to continue as CWRU School of Medicine’s interim dean through summer 2022

Stan Gerson, interim dean for the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, will continue in his term through June 30, 2022, according to a news release.

CWRU’s interim president, Scott Cowen, and provost Ben Vinson III announced the one-year extension on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

“We knew Stan’s deep familiarity with the medical school and its hospital partners would give him distinct advantages as he started in this role,” Cowen said in a provided statement. “But his ability to apply them in such an engaging and inclusive way has far exceeded even our heightened expectations. We are delighted he will helm the school throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.”

Gerson is a Distinguished University Professor and longtime director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC), a consortium including CWRU, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

Gerson accepted the interim role after now-president emerita Barbara R. Snyder announced she would step down to lead the Association of American Universities starting Oct. 1. Gerson had been serving as co-chair for the university’s search for a new medical school dean, but Snyder and Vinson decided her successor should get to choose the next permanent dean, given that the medical school is responsible for about 80% of the university’s research and 43% of its revenues, according to the release. Pamela B. Davis, who previously held the dean title, announced in 2018 her plans to step back from that role and rejoin the faculty.

“Once we decided to appoint an interim dean, Stan quickly emerged as a top choice,” Vinson said in a provided statement. “Not only is he a renowned researcher in his own right, but he also has helped elevate our cancer center to distinguished prominence, making it among the nation’s most highly regarded programs.”

While serving as interim dean and with support from his leadership team, Gerson is continuing to lead the CCCC, which in 2018 received a $31.9 million grant and the highest possible rating from the National Cancer Institute. It has 400 investigators across the three institutions and supports roughly 15,000 people newly diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the release.

“I am honored by the confidence that the interim president and provost have shown in me by awarding this extension and look forward to continuing to work with our faculty, staff, students and hospital partners to advance education, research and our community’s well-being during the next 20 months,” Gerson said in a provided statement.

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Trump offers well-wishes to Limbaugh after cancer update: ‘An incredible man’ who ‘will continue to fight’

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: ‘The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it’ Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is an “incredible man” amid his battle against Stage-4 lung cancer, with the president adding “there’s never going to be a voice like Rush.”

Limbaugh, 69, told listeners on Monday that he often feels that he’s under “a death sentence” while battling cancer, with the conservative radio talk show host sharing that recent scans showed “some progression.”

“It is cancer, it eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it,” Limbaugh told his nationally syndicated program. “It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over.”

Trump joined “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning to praise Limbaugh. During his State of the Union address in February, Trump awarded Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom shortly after the host announced his cancer diagnosis.

“There’s never going to be a voice like Rush,” Trump told co-host Ainsley Earhardt.

“Rush is an incredible man, and his wife Kathryn, incredible people, and he is putting up a fight like … this has been going on for a long time,” the president added. “He didn’t have exactly a great prognosis when he heard about it, and this is now taking it to the next level, what he said yesterday. But he is an incredible man, and that’s very sad to hear that. However, he will continue to fight. That’s the one thing I know about him. He’s incredible.”

“From the day I came down the escalator, he was supportive of me. I didn’t have to talk to him, I didn’t have to meet with him and wine him and dine him. He was just with us because he liked what I was saying,” Trump later noted. “And I became friendly with him.”

Limbaugh — widely considered to be the most influential host among conservatives — announced in January he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

His nationally syndicated show, which began 31 years ago, attracts 15.5 million listeners per day, according to Talkers Magazine.

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Covid cases continue to climb in almost every state, as U.S. braces for possible ‘third peak’

Texas, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands stand alone in recorded decreases in Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks, as the country braces for a possible “third peak” of the disease.

Although the Lone Star State reported a “slight decrease” in cases over a 14-day period that ended Saturday, its news was better than most: 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam are all seeing increases in cases over the past 14 days, and nine states have plateaued, according to NBC News tallies. Rhode Island, which like Texas has also seen a net decrease, does not report data over the weekend, and Missouri is not currently reporting data due to a technology issue.

In Vermont and New Mexico, cases have spiked, as both battle around a 117% spike in cases over the past two weeks.

“We are really struggling,” Dr. Todd Vento, director of the Telehealth Infectious Disease Program of Utah-based Intermountain Health, told NBC”s “TODAY” show. “People are doing heroic work, but they are really getting to the point where it’s going to be literally unsustainable.”

On Saturday, thousands of people, many without masks, attended a Trump rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, as health officials urge residents not to gather with anyone outside of their immediate families. The state, which does not release case counts over the weekend, saw a record 3,861 new cases on Friday, according to the state’s health department.

In North Dakota, a whopping 4% of the state has contracted Covid-19 since March, most of those cases coming within the last few weeks.

North and South Dakota lead the United States in weekly virus cases per capita, according to an NBC News tally, and ICUs are filling up across the state. According to the most recent data released by the North Dakota Department of Health, there are 16 ICU open beds in the state, just one in the capital city of Bismarck. The state, which does not have a mask mandate, only recommends that its residents cover their faces.

“You know, from my perspective, the mask mandate, it’s gonna be hard to enforce,” Kirby Kruger, the North Dakota director of Disease Control, said. “I think there’s a segment of the population that doesn’t want to do this…it’s not something that they feel that the government should be forcing on them.”

Gov. Doug Burgum has continued to stress individual responsibility as the state sees cases rise. “I think it’s important to the future of our state that we do understand there is something that is more powerful than an executive order — infinitely more powerful than a mandate — and these are the beliefs that individuals hold in their hearts,” he said in a press conference.

Burgum said he was “amazed” people were still debating the mask mandate because “there is no other way to get someone to wear a mask other than for that person to choose to do that.”

Texas, where illness is slightly declining, has seen more than 860,000 cases and almost 17,500

Ocean City Mayor On Coronavirus: ‘Continue To Take Precautions’

OCEAN CITY, NJ — Despite a small bump in coronavirus inpatients, doctors told Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian they are not “overly concerned.” But Gillian said everyone should continue to take precautions.

Doctors are learning more about the virus and how to treat it, so they’re not too concerned about the slight increase, he said.

“Please continue to take personal responsibility for wearing masks, avoiding crowds and large indoor gatherings, and washing hands,” Gillian said in his weekly address. “And please stay at home if you feel sick or show symptoms of any illness. Together, we can help to minimize the spread of the virus and keep everybody safe and healthy.”

Shore Medical Center brought back a visitor ban Wednesday because of an increase in cases in its hospital community and South Jersey. After the Tuesday announcement, a spokesperson for the hospital told Patch they had eight coronavirus inpatients at the time. Read more: Shore Medical Center Reinstitutes Visitor Ban Due To Coronavirus

Similarly, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center announced visitor restrictions for its emergency departments in Galloway, Atlantic City and Hammonton. The hospital network reported an increase in patients presenting flu-like symptoms and an uptick in community spread. Read more: AtlantiCare Restricts Visitors Due To Local Coronavirus Uptick

“We remind all members of our community to call your healthcare provider first before visiting a doctor’s office, urgent care, or emergency department for symptoms of cold, flu, COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses,” AtlantiCare spokesperson Jennifer Tornetta told Patch in a statement. “If you are having difficulty breathing or are having a life-threatening emergency, dial 911.”

The Cape May County Health Department reported nine active cases, 107 people cleared off quarantine and three deaths in Ocean City as of Sunday morning. Cape May County has reported 81 active cases, 1,294 people cleared off quarantine and 93 deaths, officials said.

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This article originally appeared on the Ocean City Patch

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