Governors and public health officials across the United States are pleading with Americans to change their behavior and prepare for a long winter as the country shatters record after record on coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Both records fell yet again Friday, as more than 181,100 new cases were reported nationwide. It was only eight days ago that the U.S. reported its first 100,000-case day. Now the seven-day average of new daily cases is more than 140,000.
Sixteen states also set single-day case records on Friday, and 30 states added more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day period.
In a reversal, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, which has critically understaffed hospitals and the highest rates of new cases and deaths per person in the nation, announced several measures late Friday, including a mask mandate, a limit on indoor dining of 50 percent capacity or 150 people and a suspension of high school winter sports and extracurricular activities until Dec. 14.
In the spring, North Dakota was one of a handful of states that never entered a lockdown. More recently, Mr. Burgum had for weeks resisted any new orders, emphasizing personal responsibility instead of requirements such as a mask mandate.
But North Dakota's situation has rapidly deteriorated: over the past week, it has averaged of 1,334 cases per day, an increase of 54 percent from the average two weeks earlier, and deaths are climbing fast. Hospitals are so overwhelmed that on Monday, Mr. Burgum angered the state nurses' union by announcing that medical workers who test positive could stay on the job to treat Covid-19 patients as long as the workers show no symptoms.
Writing in The Washington Post last week, Renae Moch, the public health director for Bismarck and Burleigh County, N.D., warned: "I can only hope our approach to this disease improves quickly — before our winter of hurt arrives and too many more North Dakotans pay the ultimate price."
In New Mexico on Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the nation's most sweeping statewide measure of the fall season, issuing a "stay at home" order to begin Monday and last two weeks. She asked people to shelter in place except for essential trips and said nonessential businesses and nonprofits must cease in-person activities.
Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon issued orders Friday to place the state in a partial lockdown for two weeks, shuttering gyms, halting restaurant dining and mandating that social gatherings have no more than six people. Ms. Brown, along with the governors of California and Washington, also urged residents to avoid all nonessential interstate travel in the days ahead.
Nearly half of all states have measures in place for visitors, but the measures themselves vary from mandatory testing to quarantine requirements. On Thursday, California surpassed one million cases, becoming the second state, after Texas, to do so.
The latest wave of cases is washing over nearly every part of the United States, unlike the spring, when it was concentrated in the New York metropolitan area. Case numbers are trending upward in 49 states, and no states are seeing declines. More than 30 states, from Alaska to New Hampshire, have set records in recent days.
More than 1,380 new deaths were also reported on Friday, pushing the 7-day average to more than 1,090 new deaths a day. And hospitalizations for Covid-19 also set a national record on Friday for the fourth-straight day, reaching 68,516, according to the Covid Tracking Project — a figure that has more than doubled in just five weeks.
The outlook is especially dire in the Great Lakes region. Pennsylvania, Indiana and Minnesota all exceeded their previous single-day records on Thursday by more than 1,000 cases. Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio warned that hospitalizations had soared to record levels. Wisconsin surpassed 300,000 known cases this week, an increase of more than 130,000 in just a month.
And in New York City, an early hot spot now facing a possible second wave, the mayor warned on Friday that public schoolscould close as early as Monday if the seven-day average positivity rate surpasses 3 percent. Private residential gatherings must be limited to 10 people beginning at 10 p.m.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, appeared on "CBS This Morning" on Friday to repeat his pleas to Americans to take the virus seriously.
"If we do the things that are simple public health measures, that soaring will level and start to come down," he said. "You add that to the help of a vaccine, we can turn this around. It is not futile."
November 14, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. 181,000 new cases in a single day! Stay home. #WearMasks Wash your hands. Dr. Fauci says, "If we do the things that are simple public health measures, that soaring will level and start to come down.You add that to the help of a vaccine, we can turn this around. It is not futile." Pass this on.