Nov. 1 (UPI) — U.S. COVID-19 cases spiked in the Midwest on Sunday as current and former health officials warned that Thanksgiving gatherings could further increase the spread of the virus.
The United States reported 81,227 new cases and 862 new deaths bringing its world-leading totals to 9,189,715 infections and 230,870 fatalities, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
All 11 regions in Illinois will be placed under resurgence mitigations including prohibiting indoor dining and bar service, closing outdoor dining at 11 p.m. and limiting gatherings to 25 people or less beginning on Wednesday as Region 2 recorded an average positivity rate above 8% for three consecutive days.
“As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people we love,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
Illinois recently reported three consecutive record-breaking case days including 7,899 new infections on Saturday.
The state broke the streak on Sunday as it reported 6,980 new cases and 35 additional deaths, bringing the state’s total to 417,280 infections and a death toll of 9,792, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
A surge in hospitalizations has also been reported in the region as Ohio recorded 1,629 hospitalizations as of Friday — the state’s highest number since the pandemic began in March.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce, drew heat from the White House on Sunday as he contradicted President Donald Trump’s message that the United States is “rounding the turn” on the virus, warning the country is primed to experience “a whole lot of hurt” as winter approaches.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under the Obama administration, said “things are getting worse around the country” citing 23 states that are accelerating the spread of the virus and 15 states reporting a positivity rate above 15%.
“I think Thanksgiving is really going to be an inflection point. I think December is probably going to be our toughest month,” Gottlieb told CBS News’ Face the Nation.
Gottlieb said, however, he doesn’t believe the United States will reinstate widespread lockdowns as Europe has done in recent weeks.
“I don’t think the political support is here for that even at the state level. I think you’re going to see targeted mitigation. States take local actions, but we’re going to have to start taking more aggressive actions,” he said.