Test The Whole Country For Coronavirus : NPR

A man is tested for the coronavirus on Sunday in Košice, Slovakia, as part of a nationwide effort to test nearly everyone over age 10 for the virus.

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A man is tested for the coronavirus on Sunday in Košice, Slovakia, as part of a nationwide effort to test nearly everyone over age 10 for the virus.

Zuzana Gogova/Getty Images

Slovakia undertook a massive effort over the weekend: to test nearly all adults in the country for the coronavirus.

Amid a steep spike in cases, more than 3.6 million Slovaks were tested for the virus, according to Prime Minister Igor Matovic – that’s about two-thirds of the population.

Of those tested, 38,359 tested positive for the virus – 1.06%.

Antigen tests were used, rather than PCR tests. Antigen tests give results within minutes, but are less reliable than PCR testing. The tests were free, and conducted at some 5,000 testing sites around the country, with assistance from Slovakia’s military.

“We have made a great leap forward,” the prime minister, Igor Matovič, told reporters on Monday.

“But we should not think that because of this 1%, now all is fine. It is not,” he added, according to Agence France-Presse. “In reality, up to 2% of our inhabitants might be infected. It is not at all a good situation.”

Two regions of the country with the highest case numbers were tested the previous weekend — a pilot in which 91% of those eligible were tested. In that round of testing, 3.97% were found positive.

More tests are planned for next weekend, but districts with a positive incidence of less than 0.7 percent will be exempt.

Children under 10 are exempt from the tests. Those over 65 who spend much of their time at home, as well as other vulnerable groups, are also exempt.

For all others, the test is optional – but a strict 10-day quarantine is required for those who choose to not get tested, The Lancet reports. Anyone who tests positive must go into strict isolation at home or a state quarantine facility for 10 days. Police officers are doing spot checks during the three-week testing period, and those who have taken the test are given a certificate they can show to police. Those who are found breaking the quarantine or isolation rules can be fined 1650 euros (about $1,920).

One goal of the program is to keep the nation’s hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Another is to avoid a severe lockdown. Schools have already been ordered to close for a month, amid closings of public venues and restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants.

Matovič said that the government’s scientific advisory team had recommended a three-week lockdown for all, rather than the testing program, but he said a lockdown would cause too much economic pain, according to The Lancet.

Some have been critical of the government’s plan.

Alexandra Brazinova, an epidemiologist at the Medical Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava, worried

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Hospitalized People Can Still Vote in Most Parts of the Country | Healthiest Communities

Johnathon Talamantes, of South-Central Los Angeles, broke his hip in a car accident on Oct. 22 and underwent surgery five days later at a public hospital near downtown.

His post-op recovery will keep him in the hospital, L.A. County+USC Medical Center, beyond Election Day, and as he prepared himself for the surgery, he wondered what that would mean.

“One of the first things I asked my nurse this morning was, ‘Oh, how am I going to vote?'” Talamantes, 30, said from his hospital bed the day before the operation.

He initially thought of asking his mom to rummage through a pile of papers at the home he shares with her and bring him the mail-in ballot that he, like all registered California voters, received for this election.

But then staffers at LAC+USC told him about another option: They could help him get an emergency ballot and cast his vote without having to get out of bed. So Talamantes told his mom not to bother.

“I don’t want her coming down here, because of the COVID restrictions,” he said.

California law protects the rights of voters who are in the hospital or other care facilities, or confined at home. It allows them to get help from anyone they choose — other than an employer or a union representative — and to cast an emergency ballot.

In some states, only family members can assist hospitalized patients with voting from the hospital.

Photos: Will They Vote For Trump, Again?

Scott Rice sits in his living room watching a Fox News Channel interview with President Donald Trump in Appleton, Wis., Aug. 20, 2020. Nothing can shake Rice's faith that Trump will save the U.S. economy, not seeing businesses close or friends furloughed, not even his own hellish bout with the coronavirus. But in Appleton, a city of 75,000 people along the Fox River, the health of economy isn't judged on jobs numbers, personal bank accounts or union contracts. Instead, it's viewed through partisan lenses, filtered through the facts voters want to see and hear, and those they don't. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In California, New York and several other states, hospital employees and volunteers can help a patient complete an emergency ballot application. They can pick up the ballot for the patient and deliver the finished ballot back to the election office or deposit it in an official drop box.

In 18 states, the law allows local election boards to send representatives directly to patients’ bedsides, though six of those states have canceled that service this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. Kelly Wong, founder of Patient Voting, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing turnout among registered voters unexpectedly hospitalized around election time.

The group’s website features an interactive map of the United States with state-by-state information on voting while in the hospital. It also allows patients to check whether they are registered to vote.

Wong, an emergency room resident at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, recalled that when she was a medical student working in an ER, patients who were about to be admitted to the hospital would tell her, “‘I can’t be admitted; I have let the dogs out, or I’m the sole caretaker of my grandmother.'” Then during the election of 2016, she heard, “‘I can’t stay. I have to go vote.'”

“That really caught my attention,” Wong said. She did research and learned patients could vote in the hospital using an emergency ballot — something none of her co-workers knew. “Our patients don’t know this, she said. “It should be our job to tell them.”

Some U.S. hospitals have been

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Slovakia tested most of the country in two days. Here’s how they did it and what they found

The European country decided to embark on the gargantuan quest to test everyone over the age of 10 after Covid-19 cases started spiking last month. Dubbed operation “Joint responsibility,” the program was the first attempt at large-scale blanket testing in Europe.

Just over 1% of those taking part tested positive, about 38,359 people in total, according to the official website of the program.

The program was first piloted on October 23 in Orava and Bardejov, two regions with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Nearly 141,000 people, 91% of those who were eligible, got tested in the two regions over the three days of the pilot.

In the rest of the country, the testing took place simultaneously on Saturday and Sunday. The government encouraged everyone older than 10 to take part in the voluntary program. People older than 65 years who spend most of their time at home, people with disabilities, cancer patients, immunocompromised people and other vulnerable groups were exempt.

Mike Tildesley, an infectious disease modeling expert at the University Warwick and a UK government scientific adviser, said that effective mass testing could be used in the long term as an alternative to lockdown to control the spread of disease.

“However, it is important to realize that just because someone tests negative it does not mean that they will necessarily be free from infection a few days later,” he said. “So any mass testing strategy needs to be carried out at regular intervals (every few days) in order to be an effective strategy and to allow some lockdown measures to be relaxed.”

The government said it was considering running a second round of the mass testing later this month, but no decision has been made yet.

The Slovak program used rapid antigen tests which provide results in minutes. Unlike the molecular diagnostic (PCR) tests, antigen tests don’t have to be processed in a lab, so they are faster and cheaper. But they can also be less reliable. While the PCR tests look for the virus’ genetic material, the antigen test looks for pieces of protein from the virus.

The Slovak military has been in charge of the testing campaign which required the deployment of 40,463 staff, including 14,500 health workers and 6,319 soldiers, to nearly 5,000 testing locations across the country.

The testing was voluntary, but those who decided to skip it will have to continue comply with stricter coronavirus restrictions and will not be allowed to leave their homes unless they are carrying out one of a few narrowly-defined exempt activities until Sunday.
The number of older people getting coronavirus in Europe is rising again. That's really bad news

Those who tested negative no longer have to comply with the strictest restrictions as long as they can prove their negative status with an official certificate. People who tested positive now have to quarantine — either at home, or in one of dozens of designated hotels across the country.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovic on Sunday praised those who were involved in the program. “Village and city mayors, civil servants, village or

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U.S. Hits Highest Single-Day Number of COVID-19 Cases for Any Country, England to Enter Lockdown

Karen Ducey/Getty

The U.S. recently reported the highest single-day number of COVID-19 cases for any country as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the nation.

According to CNN, the U.S. reported 99,321 new cases on Friday, surpassing India’s daily record of 97,894 coronavirus cases in a single day on Sept. 17.

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 9,163,700 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 230,100 have died from the virus, according to a New York Times database.

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN that the increase in cases could directly translate to an increase in deaths. “The 100,000 cases yesterday two weeks from now will start to translate into massive numbers of deaths,” he said. “So we’re going to see not just cases continue to escalate but we’re going to see perhaps 2,000 deaths per day two or three weeks from now.”

RELATED: Disneyland Paris Closes Again As Second Lockdown in France Begins

Former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen also warned that if American’s don’t continue to “implement targeted measures” like mask-wearing, shutting down high-risk businesses, and avoiding social gatherings, a lockdown may be in the future. “If we don’t do these things now, we’re going to be overwhelming our health systems and then a lockdown may be necessary,” she told CNN.

On Friday, the same day that the U.S. hit its record single day statistic, a new paper by researchers at Stanford University found that President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies led to a major number of the country’s coronavirus cases.

Karen Ducey/Getty

According to CNBC, after looking at 18 Trump rallies held between June 20 and Sept. 22 and analyzing subsequent COVID-19 data, researchers found that the rallies led to more than 30,000 cases. “The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death,” lead author B. Douglas Bernheim wrote.

Outside of the U.S., several other countries are continuing to struggle with the pandemic, including England which will be going into its second national lockdown next week.

On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would be entering a month-long lockdown from Nov. 5 until Dec. 2.

RELATED: More Than 40 States Have Spiking COVID Cases and Midwestern Hospitals Are ‘Struggling’ to Keep Up

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Pedestrians cross a street located in the mandatory face mask zone to limit COVID infections in Bordeaux on October 28, 2020, as France is set to put tough new measures in place.

“From Thursday until the start of December you must stay at home,” he said in a news

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In the hospital? You can still vote in California and most other parts of the country

Johnathon Talamantes in a hospital bed.
Johnathon Talamantes broke his hip in a car accident and needed surgery that will keep him hospitalized beyond the Nov. 3 election. The hospital helped him apply for an emergency ballot so he can vote without leaving his bed. (Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center)

Johnathon Talamantes broke his hip in a car accident last week and had surgery five days later at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

His post-op recovery will keep him in the hospital beyond election day, and that was on his mind as he prepared himself for the surgery.

“One of the first things I asked my nurse this morning was, ‘Oh, how am I going to vote?’” Talamantes, 30, said from his hospital bed the day before the operation.

He initially thought of asking his mom to rummage through a pile of papers at the home they share and bring him the mail-in ballot that he, like all registered California voters, received for this election.

But then staffers at County-USC told him about another option: They could help him get an emergency ballot so he could cast his vote without having to get out of bed. So Talamantes told his mom to not bother.

I don’t want her coming down here, because of the COVID restrictions,” he said.

California law protects the rights of voters who are in the hospital or other care facilities, or confined at home. It allows them to get help from anyone they choose — other than an employer or a union representative — so they can cast an emergency ballot.

At least 37 other states allow emergency voting for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But practices vary.

In some states, only family members can assist hospitalized patients with voting from the hospital.

In California, New York and several other states, hospital employees and volunteers can help a patient complete an emergency ballot application. They can pick up the ballot for the patient and deliver the completed ballot back to the election office or deposit it in an official drop box.

In North Carolina, by contrast, it is a felony for a healthcare worker to assist a patient with voting.

In 18 states, the law allows local election boards to send representatives directly to patients’ bedsides, though six of those states have canceled that service this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. Kelly Wong, founder of Patient Voting, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing turnout among registered voters who find themselves unexpectedly hospitalized around election time.

The group’s website features an interactive map of the United States with state-by-state information on voting while in the hospital. It also allows patients to check whether they are registered to vote.

Wong, an emergency room resident at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, recalled that when she was a medical student working in an ER, patients who were about to be admitted to the hospital would tell her, “‘I can’t be admitted; I have let

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Country may not be back to normal until 2022, Fauci says

As Covid-19 cases continue to jump during the fall surge, Dr. Anthony Fauci says there’s little chance of normalcy on the horizon.



background pattern: Reading, PA - October 13: A nurse puts a swab into a vial after administering a test. At the state run free COVID-19 testing site setup on Front Street in Reading, PA outside FirstEnergy Stadium Tuesday morning October 13, 2020. The site will be there for 5 days and was setup in response to an increase in cases in Berks County. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)


© Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images
Reading, PA – October 13: A nurse puts a swab into a vial after administering a test. At the state run free COVID-19 testing site setup on Front Street in Reading, PA outside FirstEnergy Stadium Tuesday morning October 13, 2020. The site will be there for 5 days and was setup in response to an increase in cases in Berks County. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

The US will have a vaccine in the next few months, but there’s a chance a “substantial proportion of the people” won’t be vaccinated until the second or third quarter of 2021, Fauci said.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reiterated caution on the nation’s outlook.

“I think it will be easily by the end of 2021, and perhaps even into the next year, before we start having some semblances of normality,” Fauci said during a University of Melbourne panel discussion Tuesday.

Things aren’t looking too good for the US as the winter approaches, he said Wednesday.

Twenty-nine states set new records this month for the most new daily cases since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“We’re not in a good place,” Fauci during a virtual Q&A session on Wednesday. “Now we’re averaging about 70,000 a (day). That’s a bad position to be in.”

And it’s not just due to more testing. The average number of daily new cases this past week is up 21% compared to the previous week, according to JHU. But testing has increased only 6.63% over the same time frame, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

“We’re rising quickly. If we just go back about six, seven weeks ago to Labor Day, we were at about 35,000 cases a day,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health.

“I would not be surprised if we end up getting to 100,000” new cases a day, Jha said.

At least 73,240 new US cases and 985 deaths were reported Tuesday, according to JHU.

The surge is hitting all regions of the country. As of Wednesday, 40 states were trending in the wrong direction, with at least 10% more new cases this past week compared to the previous week, according to JHU.

Missouri is the only state with at least 10% fewer cases, and the remaining nine states are relatively steady.

Track the virus in your state and nationwide

And with more cases come more hospitalizations and deaths.

Without changes, ‘half a million people will be dead’

This month, 11 states reported their highest single day of new deaths since the pandemic began.

And because a vaccine probably won’t be available to most Americans until the middle of next year, personal responsibility will be key to saving American lives.

“If we continue our current behavior, by

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Kushner told Woodward in April Trump was ‘getting the country back from the doctors’

White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDemocrats accuse Kushner of ‘casual racism’ over comments about Black Americans Scaramucci says Trump has united country: ‘It just happens to be against him’ Obama slams Kushner comments on Black Americans: ‘What history books do they read?’ MORE in April told journalist Bob Woodward that the country had progressed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic to the point where President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE was “back in charge” and “getting the country back from the doctors.”

Kushner, who is also the president’s son-in-law, told Woodward on April 18 that the country was moving into what he deemed the “comeback phase.” The comments came one day after Trump tweeted out support for people protesting against coronavirus-related restrictions with calls to “liberate” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia.

“There were three phases. There’s the panic phase, the pain phase and then the comeback phase. I do believe that last night symbolized kind of the beginning of the comeback phase,” Kushner told Woodward, according to an audio recording published by CNN.

“That doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot of pain and there won’t be pain for a while, but that basically was — we’ve now put out rules to get back to work,” he continued. “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors. They’ve kind of — we have, like, a negotiated settlement.”

Kushner told Woodward that working out guidelines allowing parts of the economy to reopen “was almost like Trump getting the country back from the doctors. Right? In the sense that what he now did was, you know, he’s going to own the open-up.”

The comments came in April, when the country had managed to reduce infection rates and improve hospital capacity after the administration promoted an initiative to “slow the spread” for 30 days by encouraging social distancing and mask wearing.

Trump told Woodward in February and March that he was aware the virus was dangerous and could spread through the air, but that he wanted to intentionally play down its severity to avoid causing panic, according to previously released recordings.

But in the six months since, Trump has agitated for the country to fully reopen, leading to a spike in virus cases. In that same time frame, he has pushed aside medical experts who were leaders on the White House coronavirus task force, including Anthony FauciAnthony FauciConservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls 68 percent of Americans say they know someone diagnosed with COVID-19: poll The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands MORE, Deborah BirxDeborah BirxFauci: Trump has not been to a task force meeting in months Scott Atlas: Fauci ‘just one person on the task force’ Overnight

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UCSF doctor estimates US death total if entire country acted like SF

San Francisco has become the poster child for how to control coronavirus cases and deaths amid the pandemic, with its residents wearing masks, businesses and schools reopening slowly and scientists and politicians working together to create public health orders.

The result of the county and city’s vigilant behavior has been the lowest death rate of any major city in the country and remarkably low cases rates considering S.F. is a densely populated city.

What if all Americans followed the Northern California city’s approach to the pandemic?

A lot of deaths would have been avoided, UCSF coronavirus expert Dr. Bob Wachter told the LA Times for a story on S.F.’s COVID-19 success.


“There would be 50,000 dead from the pandemic instead of more than 220,000,” Wachter told the Times.

San Francisco County (pop. 880,000) has recorded 12,152 cases and 140 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with roughly 1,373 cases and 16 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to Johns Hopkins University. By comparison, Los Angeles County (pop. 10 million) has recorded 299,760 cases and 6,993 deaths, with 2,966 cases and 69 deaths per 100,0000; New York County (Manhattan, pop. 1.6 million) falls in at 33,128 total cases and a death toll of 2,545, with 2,034 cases and 156 deaths per 100,000.

Because of its low case and death rates, San Francisco is the first urban center in California to see viral transmission reach the “minimal,” or yellow, tier in the state’s reopening plan. Several rural counties with small populations, such as Shasta and Mendocino counties, are in the most-restrictive purple tier due to widespread infection, requiring many businesses and activities to close.

While many other major U.S. cities such as New York experienced terrifying periods with skyrocketing cases that filled hospital beds beyond capacity, San Francisco has kept its number of cases relatively low, with some ups and downs, yet no major surge that overwhelmed the city’s health care system and impacted its ability to provide optimal care.

“The low case rate is a result of people acting well, and acting well is everything from city health leaders doing the right thing to the people doing the right thing,” Wachter, chair of UCSF’s Department of Medicine, told SFGATE for a previous story on the city’s low death rate. “We have very high rates of mask-wearing, probably the highest in the country. I think from the beginning people have trusted the science, trusted the guidance. You don’t hear in S.F. that COVID is a hoax. People have generally taken this very seriously and I think the leadership from the mayor and the regional health directors has been terrific.”

In April, Wachter sent a team of UCSF doctors to New York to help during the height of the East Coast city’s pandemic and his colleagues told “horror stories about what they saw in good hospitals.”

“At UCSF, you’ll have one nurse taking care of you,” he said. “In Queens, at the height of things, it was one nurse to seven or eight

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In hot spots around the country, hospitals are reaching their limits.

With the coronavirus spreading out of control in many parts of the United States and daily case counts once again setting records, health experts have warned that it is only a matter of time before the pressure on hospitals mounts to the breaking point.

In some places it’s already happening, with more than 41,000 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the United States, a 40 percent rise in the past month.

Hospital administrators in Utah have sent a grim warning to Gov. Gary Herbert that they will soon be forced to ration access to their rapidly filling intensive-care units, and requested approval for criteria to decide which patients should get priority, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“We told him, ‘It looks like we’re going to have to request those be activated if this trend continues,’ and we see no reason why it won’t,” the paper quoted Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, as saying.

In Tennessee, the Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia suspended all elective procedures requiring an overnight stay on Saturday to make room for an influx of Covid-19 patients. Most of the facility’s 26 I.C.U. beds are already filled.

Hospitals in El Paso, Texas, are preparing to airlift some critical care patients to other medical facilities in the state after a record surge of Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to a statement from the University Medical Center of El Paso. Gov. Greg Abbott has asked the federal government to authorize the use of a military hospital at Fort Bliss, outside El Paso, to treat civilian non-coronavirus patients, his office said in a statement on Friday.

The island of Lanai, Hawaii, which has gone from zero to 65 confirmed cases in the space of a week, is so worried about its limited medical resources becoming overwhelmed that it has decided to airlift any critical Covid-19 patient off the island, though so far no patients have needed hospitalization, The Maui News reported on Saturday. County officials are expected to issue a stay-at-home order and restrict travel to the island starting Tuesday, the paper said.

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The country reported its most cases in a day since July. Deaths may begin climbing, too, a leading expert says

The US reported at least 69,000 new Covid-19 infections Friday — the most in a single day since July — amid an alarming nationwide rise in cases that experts say marks the start of a fall surge.



a person sitting at a table with a cake: Nursing assistant Monica Brodsky, left, and nurse Taylor Mathisen work at a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 in the parking lot at UW Health Administrative Office Building in Middleton, Wis., Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. A surge of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin and the Dakotas is forcing a scramble for hospital beds and raising political tensions, as the Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as one of the nation's most troubling hotspots. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)


© AMBER ARNOLD/AP
Nursing assistant Monica Brodsky, left, and nurse Taylor Mathisen work at a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 in the parking lot at UW Health Administrative Office Building in Middleton, Wis., Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. A surge of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin and the Dakotas is forcing a scramble for hospital beds and raising political tensions, as the Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as one of the nation’s most troubling hotspots. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

On July 29, the US reported more than 71,300 infections, about two weeks after the country’s peak daily case count of more than 77,000. That summer surge eventually waned, and daily averages dipped to a little more than 34,300 by September 12.

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But now, the country is averaging more than 55,000 new cases daily over the past week — up more than 60% since mid-September’s dip. The case upticks have prompted state leaders to push new measures in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced changes to the state’s health measures, including requiring hospitals to reserve at least 10% of staffed general and ICU beds for Covid-19 patients. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week ordered new mass gathering limitations and a 10 p.m. closing time for establishments serving alcohol. And in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said this month he instructed authorities to step up mask enforcement.

Hospitalizations are climbing nationwide. And they’ll likely be followed by a rise in daily Covid-19 deaths, says Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

“This is a good moment for people to stop and ask themselves, ‘What can I do to try to be sure that we limit the further infections that otherwise seem to be looming in front of us as cold weather is kicking in and people are indoors, and those curves are going upward, in the wrong direction?’ ” Collins said Friday.

Researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation project more than 2,300 Americans could be dying daily by mid-January and a total of more than 389,000 people could die from the virus in the US by February 1.

The country’s daily tallies of Covid-19 deaths have been steady recently — averaging around 700 per day across a week. That’s below the peak of the summer, when the daily average hovered above 1,000 from late July into mid-August.

More than 218,000 people have died from Covid-19 nationwide since the start of the pandemic. Just over 8 million US cases have been reported.

Experts say Americans can help get the virus under control by heeding basic public health guidelines touted by officials for months: avoiding crowded settings, keeping a distance, keeping small gatherings outdoors and wearing a mask.

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