The upward trajectory of coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued Wednesday with the country setting a new mark with more than 136,000 new infections, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
That development came a day after the U.S. reached 1 million cases in November alone and COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed 60,000 for the first time. Hospitalizations have more than doubled in less than two months, the COVID Tracking Project reported Wednesday.
The number of Americans hospitalized due to COVID-19 has risen almost 50% in the last two weeks. On Wednesday, the U.S. surpassed 240,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus, the largest number in the world. The U.S. has 4.3% of the global population but 18.8% of the reported coronavirus deaths.
Almost 62,000 Americans were hospitalized because of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The previous record for hospitalizations was 59,780 on April 12, after which the number began a gradual decline that reached 28,608 on Sept. 20. Since then, however, the number has been rising steadily.
“Hospitals are facing severe constraints in the weeks ahead,” said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, whose state is among the hardest hit. “We need everyone to help slow the spread.”
Today’s latest updates:
- Texas, the nation’s second-most populous state, is the first to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on face masks: They not only protect others, but they protected the wearer, too.
- The World Health Organization is allowing an independent panel to review its management of the pandemic response.
- In ICE detention centers, the coronavirus case rate is more than 13 times the rate of the U.S. population and more than double the rate in prisons, according to the report published in JAMA Open Network.
- Philadelphia’s public school system reversed its plan to resume some in-person instruction this month. In Maryland, indoor dining at restaurants and bars will be limited to 50% capacity starting Wednesday.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported close to 10.4 million cases and more than 240,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 51.9 million cases and 1.28 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
📰What we’re reading: The leader of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost his way during COVID-19. Now his agency must rebuild its credibility.
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US sets daily record with 136,000 infections on Wednesday
The U.S. set a new high-water mark for single-day cases of the coronavirus Wednesday with 136,325, based on Johns Hopkins University data. The record figure represents an increase of more than 16,000 infections over the previous day’s total of nearly 120,000.
The latest surge in cases is straining the medical systems in several states, most recently Wisconsin, which is approaching the point where its hospitals won’t be able to properly care for all their severely ill patients, state health officials said.
The U.S., the world leader in COVID-19 infections with close to 10.4 million, has recorded more than 100,000 new cases for eight consecutive days, averaging more than 121,000 new infections over that time.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine threatens to close businesses, imposes mask order
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine took action to curtail the exploding COVID-19 epidemic on Wednesday, threatening to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers, imposing a revised mask order that could briefly close businesses for violations and cracking down on post-event gatherings.
The governor said during a statewide address that bars, restaurants and fitness centers could be ordered closed a week from Thursday “if the current trend continues and cases keep increasing.”
“This surge is much more intense, widespread, and dangerous. As of today, every single one of our 88 counties has a high rate of virus spread, and areas of our state that were previously untouched — our rural areas — are being hit especially hard,” DeWine said.
DeWine also said retailers and other businesses will be held responsible, and potentially closed for 24 hours, if they allow employees to go without masks and permit customers to enter without face coverings. The revised mask order will be issued by Thursday morning, the governor’s office said.
– Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch
New York state restricts bars, gyms, restaurants, home social gatherings
Bars and restaurants with a liquor license will have to close by 10 p.m. and indoor gatherings at private homes will be limited to no more than 10 people under new statewide rules announced Wednesday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Gyms will also have to close by 10 p.m.
The restrictions, which take effect Friday night, come in response to increasing COVID-19 numbers in the state and growing concerns that it will be hit with a second wave of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Cuomo said 4,820 new infections were reported Tuesday (at a 2.93% positivity rate), as well as 1,628 hospitalizations and 21 COVID fatalities.
The limit on social activities at home, down from the current 50, is sure to draw some backlash, but Cuomo said on Twitter, “We know indoor gatherings and parties are a major source of COVID spread.”
Indiana pulls back from reopening, imposes tighter restrictions
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb finally gave in and moved the state out of its Stage 5 of reopening after seven weeks of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations soaring beyond the spring rates.
Holcomb on Wednesday placed limits on social gatherings and school events for most of the state, and also made available $20 million to local officials to help ensure businesses adhere to the state’s mask and social distancing requirements.
“Unfortunately, too many of us and around the country have let our guards down,” Holcomb said. “Stage 5 was being lost on people or it was being misinterpreted. … Stage 5 to many was translated to or received as, ‘We’re past it, we’re at the final stage, there’s nothing more we need to do.’”
– Elizabeth DePompei and Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star
Illinois urges residents to stay home for next three weeks
The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to take extra precautions for the next three weeks amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state. The department is encouraging Illinoisans to work from home, participate in essential activities only and limit travel and gatherings.
“Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open,” the department said in a news release Wednesday.
Illinois has reported more new cases in the past week than any other state, according to the CDC, with nearly 70,000 new cases in the past seven days. There have been more than half a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and more than 10,000 deaths. More than 5,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
– Grace Hauck
Virus forces cancellation of Veterans Day activities across US
This year’s Veterans Day has lacked many of the usual acknowledgments of those who have served the country in the military forces, as the coronavirus forced cancellation of commemorations and even visits to loved ones.
Many of the nation’s veterans homes barred visitors to protect their residents from a virus that has killed thousands of former servicemen and women.
Cemeteries decorated with American flags were silent as well, as many of the traditional ceremonies were canceled. With infections raging again nationwide, several veterans homes are fighting new outbreaks.
More than 4,200 veterans have died from COVID-19 at hospitals and homes run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and nearly 85,000 have been infected, according to the department. But the death toll doesn’t include those who have died in private or state-run veterans facilities.
UK is first country in Europe with 50,000 coronavirus deaths
Britain has become the first European country to have 50,000 of its residents die of COVID-19. The UK reached that figure Wednesday, when it reported a total of 50,365 fatalities, including 595 in the previous 24 hours.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent three days in the ICU battling a severe case of COVID-19, acknowledged that, “Every death is a tragedy” while adding about improved therapeutics: “I do think we have got now to a different phase in the way that we treat it.”
As in the U.S., those most affected by the virus in Britain have been seniors — people above 65 make up 90% of the fatalities — as well as minorities and the poor.
Italy has recorded the second most deaths on the European continent with nearly 43,000, followed by France with more than 41,000.
First college basketball postponement — Stetson at Miami
There’s already a postponement in the college basketball season, which doesn’t start for another two weeks.
Stetson’s game at Miami, scheduled for Nov. 25, has been put on hold after a Hatters player tested positive for COVID, forcing others to go in isolation.
The college football season has had more than 50 games postponed or canceled, including four in the SEC this week.
Major college football conference cancels four games
A fourth college football game scheduled for Saturday involving Southeastern Conference schools was postponed Wednesday due to COVID-19 concerns. The University of Georgia will not play at the University of Missouri, the conference announced. It was not immediately clear if the game would be played at a later date.
Earlier this week, Auburn at Mississippi State, Alabama at LSU and Texas A&M at Tennessee were all forced to reschedule. At least two other Saturday games involving schools from other conferences – Memphis at Navy and Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas State – also have been postponed. Overall, more than 50 games have been postponed or canceled this season.
Texas sets new daily record, nears 1M cases of coronavirus
The nation’s second-most populous state is the first to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The state has now reported 1.01 million coronavirus cases and 19,337 deaths.
There were 6,170 people hospitalized Tuesday with the coronavirus and 94 new deaths were reported that day, according to the state Department of State Health Services.
Texas has about 28 million people, 12 million less than California, which will soon surpass 1 million infections as well. The true number of infections for all states is likely much higher because many infected don’t feel sick and have not been tested.
“Swift distribution of vaccines and medical treatments will begin to heal those suffering from COVID-19, slow the spread of the virus, and aid in reducing hospitalizations of Texans,” Gov. Gregg Abbott said in a statement.
‘Bachelorette’ suitor Peter Giannikopoulos tests positive
Peter Giannikopoulos, one of the suitors vying for Tayshia Adams’s attentions on the current season of “The Bachelorette,” says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and then suffered minor injuries in a car accident upon hearing the news.
The real estate adviser from Everett, Massachusetts, was one of four suitors who entered the Palm Springs “Bachelorette” bubble on this week’s episode.
Giannikopoulos, 32, wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday that he had begun a two-week quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus Monday. Filming for the series wrapped in September.
“The past 24 hours have truly been some of the hardest in my life. Yesterday I tested positive for Covid,” he wrote alongside a shirtless selfie photo taken from his bed. “Although my symptoms are evident, I am going to fight this and win.”
– Bryan Alexander
Joe Biden on masks: No national mandate, but lots of persuasion
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team website outlines a plan to “implement mask mandates nationwide by working with governors and mayors and by asking the American people to do what they do best: step up in a time of crisis.” The website says Biden will call for Americans to wear a mask when they are around people outside their household, for governors to make that mandatory in their state and for local authorities to also make it mandatory “to buttress their state orders.” On the campaign trail, Biden said he couldn’t issue a national mandate.
“A national mandate is not possible because public health powers belong to the states, not the federal government,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. “The federal government couldn’t implement its own mask mandates, nor could it force the states to do it.”
– Grace Hauck
ICE detainees rate of infection 13 times that of US population
Researchers analyzing coronavirus data from 92 of the nation’s 135 Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers found the case rate was on average more than 13 times the rate of the U.S. population and more than double the rate in prisons, according to a report published in JAMA Open Network.
Lack of data transparency, minimal testing and anecdotal reports of inconsistent compliance with health guidelines suggest ICE case numbers could be much higher, experts say.
“Unless we’re wanting to give people who are detained by ICE death sentences … we should absolutely be doing everything we can to protect them,” said Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “Not providing means to stop the spread in those locations is a national travesty. It’s a stain on our country.”
– Adrianna Rodriguez
CDC: Face masks also protect the wearer
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance regarding face masks: They not only protect others, but they protected the wearer too.
“Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread” of the virus, the CDC says. “Individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.”
The CDC had previously encouraged mask use as a way to help prevent infected people from spreading the coronavirus to others. Here’s how to find the most effective masks.
‘More Marylanders are dying’: State reimposes tough restrictions
Maryland Gov. Harry Logan reimposed restrictions to combat a “public health catastrophe” due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Staring Wednesday evening, indoor dining at restaurants and bars must return to 50% capacity. State health officials are “strongly advising against” indoor gatherings of more than 25 people and nonessential travel to states with a positivity rate above 10%. Those who leave the state must get tested and self-quarantine.
“More people are getting infected with the virus, more people are being hospitalized, more people are going into intensive care, and more Marylanders are dying,” Hogan said. “The actions we are taking today are absolutely necessary to help us withstand this surge, to save lives.”
Maryland has a total of 156,709 confirmed cases and 4,084 deaths, according to the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard.
COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press