U.S. COVID-19 Cases Hit Two-Month High

(Reuters) -
A man receives the coronavirus test, distributed by the Wisconsin National Guard at the United Migrant Opportunity Services center, as cases spread in the Midwest, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski/File Photo)

New cases of COVID-19 in the United States hit a two-month high on Friday, October 9th, with over 58,000 infections of the coronavirus reported and hospitalizations in the Midwest at record levels for a fifth day in a row, according to a Reuters analysis.

Ten of the 50 states reported record one-day rises in cases on Friday, including the Midwestern states of Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio. Wisconsin and Illinois recorded over 3,000 new cases for a second day in a row – a two-day trend not seen even during the height of the previous outbreak in the spring, according to Reuters data.

The Western states of Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming also reported their biggest one-day jumps in cases, as did Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Nineteen states have seen record increases in new cases so far in October.

Amid the resurgence in cases across the nation, President Donald Trump, who recently contracted COVID-19, addressed his supporters from the balcony of the White House on Saturday, a prelude to restarting his re-election campaign.

He traveled on Monday to Florida for an outdoor campaign rally with little social distancing and many unmasked.

While deaths nationally continue to trend downward, the United States is losing on average 700 lives a day. Three states reported a record one-day increase in fatalities on Friday: Arkansas, Missouri and Montana. Health experts caution that deaths are a lagging indicator and usually rise weeks after cases climb.

The number of people who succumb to COVID-19 is expected to accelerate this winter.

The country’s daily death rate is projected , but if Americans increase their wearing of masks, thousands of  lives may be saved, according to the University’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, whose model has been cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Currently, there is no federal mandate to wear a mask, and 17 states do not require them, according to a Reuters analysis.

In addition to rising cases, hospitals in several states are straining to handle an influx of patients.

Seven states on Friday reported record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

In the Midwest, hospitalizations rose to nearly 9,000, continuing a streak of records that began on Monday.