Task force sees ‘unrelenting’ COVID-19 spread; daily U.S. cases up by record 91,000

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House coronavirus task force warned that much of the country is in the grips of an “unrelenting” surge in COVID-19 cases and urged tough countermeasures, as the number of U.S. infections reported on Thursday hit a new daily record of more than 91,000.

FILE PHOTO: Healthcare workers wearing powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) hoods process COVID-19 test samples at a drive-thru testing site operated by Avera Health inside the former Silverstar Car Wash, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S., October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

The hardest-hit regions in the West and Midwest encompass a number of battleground states expected to play a pivotal role in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election contest between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

“We are on a very difficult trajectory. We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading task force member and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said coronavirus cases were on the rise in 47 states, and patients were overwhelming hospitals across the country.

“If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s gonna be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations, and deaths,” Fauci said in a CNBC interview on Wednesday night.

The White House coronavirus task force has warned states in the middle and western parts of the country that aggressive measures will be necessary to curb the virus’ spread, according to weekly state reports seen by CNN.

“We continue to see unrelenting, broad community spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest and West. This will require aggressive mitigation to control both the silent, asymptomatic spread and symptomatic spread,” one state’s report said.

The ominous assessment was echoed on Thursday by Dr. Ashish Jha, Brown University’s dean of public health, who told Reuters, “things are very, very bad in the United States right now.”

“We are having some of the largest breakouts that we’ve had during the entire pandemic,” he said, adding that the initial waves of infections last spring were more localized.

“And nine, 10 months into this pandemic, we are still largely not quite prepared.”

At least a dozen states – Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oregon – reported record one-day increases in COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally.

Seventeen states reported a record number of hospitalizations, a metric that has soared across the country and is independent of how much testing is being done.

Nationally, health authorities on Thursday confirmed 91,248 more people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day increase in cases reported to date, according to a Reuters tally. The previous 24-hour record tally was 84,169 cases, set just last Friday.

The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 stood at

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White House advisers warn COVID-19 spread in Midwest and West is ‘unrelenting’

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has reportedly warned of a “persistent and broad spread” of COVID-19 infections across the U.S. West, advocating stricter prevention efforts to help slow the spread of transmission, per Reuters.

“We are on a very difficult trajectory. We’re going in the wrong direction,” Anthony Fauci, the most prominent task force member, said.


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Data reveal that cases are high and remaining high in states like Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas and Minnesota, among dozens of others. Many of these states are key battleground states that have potential to determine the outcome of the competitive election between incumbent President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Fauci confirmed that new cases are increasing in 47 states, along with hospitalizations.

Wisconsin, in particular, is on track to run out of intensive care unit beds.

“Every single positive increases the probability or likelihood of having another patient who is hospitalized,” Bill Melms, chief medical officer for Marshfield Clinic Health System, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

On a national level, the two-week change in new cases is up by 41 percent, with fatalities increasing by nine percent on average. 

Roughly 1,016 new COVID-19 deaths and 81,457 new cases were reported on Oct. 28, per The New York Times.

“We continue to see unrelenting, broad community spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest and West. This will require aggressive mitigation to control both the silent, asymptomatic spread and symptomatic spread,” one state report said.

A nationwide lockdown has still not been issued, and some states do not have a mandatory mask order, such as Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Most of these states are experiencing surges in new cases.


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