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US Coronavirus: US is nearing ‘rapid acceleration’ of Covid-19 cases, expert warns, as daily infections top 60,000


The prediction comes after several state leaders reimposed some measures to help curb the spread of the virus, fueled by small gatherings increasingly moving indoors with the colder weather, as well as other factors such as college and school reopenings. The national seven-day case average has increased at least 18% since the previous week and is now a staggering 61% higher than what it was five weeks ago. And as multiple experts have warned, things will likely get worse before they get better.

“It’s going to be a difficult fall and winter,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC Monday. “I think we’re about two or three weeks behind Europe — so we’re about a week away from starting to enter a period where we’re going to see a rapid acceleration in cases.”

The difference is many European countries were able to suppress their numbers of new cases over the summer, but the US entered the fall season with a relatively high baseline average of new infections — something experts warned wouldn’t help in containing another surge of cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week European Union countries were able to bring their baseline down because of strict and stringent lockdowns, adding the US did not “shut down nearly as much as our colleagues in Italy and Spain.”

“We’re seeing hospitalizations go up in 42 states right now, cases are going up in 45 states, and there really is no backstop,” Gottlieb said. “This fall and winter season is when the coronavirus is going to want to spread.”

The US reported more than 60,000 new cases on Tuesday

‘Get ready:’ 70,000 new infections daily

At least 26 US states are reporting more new Covid-19 cases than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And no states are trending in the right direction, according to the data.

By next week or the week after that, the US could be recording up to 70,000 new cases daily, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Tuesday. And the numbers could keep rising after that, he said.

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“Look out for your mental health, because the normal response to this is people are going to get sad and upset, and maybe even depressed, so have access to mental health counseling,” Hotez said. “In other words, put those belts and suspenders in and get ready.”
In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak warned of “Covid fatigue” and said more restrictions could be on the way if residents don’t help bring Covid-19 numbers down. The state’s daily case count has doubled in the past month and its test positivity rate is the highest it’s been since early September — and more than 80% higher than the goal set by World Health Organization officials.
And as holidays approach, experts worry gatherings will only help drive an already rampant spread. Americans should take the right precautions if they want to spend time with loved ones and not contribute to the spread of the virus, experts say.

“If you really want to get together indoors, everybody should quarantine themselves for 14 days, and then get tested which would substantially reduce the risk,” emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen said Tuesday.

States take additional measures

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday several regions of the state will see more restrictive mitigation standards go into effect by the end of the week.

The new measures will include no indoor service for bars and restaurants and a closing time of 11 p.m. for outdoor services. They also include new restrictions on social gatherings, not to exceed 25 people.

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“As colder weather approaches and flu season is upon us, we’re going to see the rippling effects of these current unfortunate trends,” Prtizker said in a news release. “The massive surge of cases in our neighboring states will continue to have a spillover effect. There is no easy fix for the effects of this virus on our economy and our public health.”
The governor has previously urged residents to be extra vigilant, warning while the state isn’t seeing as severe effects as nearby regions, that could quickly change. In past weeks, neighboring Wisconsin reported record-high case counts, hospitalizations and daily death toll and Gov. Tony Evers announced a field hospital would open to respond to a surge in patients.
New Mexico is also implementing more measures to help slow the spread, state officials announced Tuesday.
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Starting Friday, businesses that record four “rapid responses” — which occur when an employer reports a case of the virus — in a 14-day period will have to close for two weeks. The new measure will apply to food and drink establishments, retail, lodging and close-contact businesses, officials said.

Retail establishments will also have to close by 10 p.m. every night, officials said. New Mexico experienced “its worst week for Covid-19 infections” last week, health officials said, with a new rate of spread and new case rate among the highest in the US.

In Washington state, Gov Jay Inslee said the state was battling outbreaks on college campuses and “significant increases in Covid-19 infections that have occurred particularly in congregate living areas, like Greek houses, and large social gatherings of students.”

He announced new restrictions for campuses including limiting the number of residents sharing a sleeping area and requiring people in all common areas to wear a mask and remain socially distant.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, Gisela Crespo, Shelby Lin Erdman, Andy Rose and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.