Texas on Wednesday became the first state with more than one million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and California closed in on that mark as a surge of coronavirus infections engulfs the U.S.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all restaurants, bars and gyms statewide will have to close at 10 p.m. starting Friday, a major retreat in a corner of the U.S. that had seemingly brought the virus largely under control months ago. He also barred private gatherings of more than 10 people.
Texas, the country’s second-most populous state, has recorded 1.02 million coronavirus cases and more than 19,000 deaths since the outbreak began in early March, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. California, the most populous state, has logged more than 995,000 cases.
The U.S. has recorded more than 240,000 deaths and more than 10.3 million confirmed infections, with new cases soaring to all-time highs of well over 120,000 per day over the past week. Health experts have blamed the increase in part on the onset of cold weather and growing frustration with mask-wearing and other precautions.
Cases per day are on the rise in 49 states, and deaths per day are climbing in 39. A month ago, the U.S. was seeing about 730 COVID-19 deaths per day on average. It has now surpassed 970.
Our daily update is published. States reported 1.4M new tests and 144k cases, another all-time high. 65.4k people are hospitalized, 15k more than on election day. The death toll was 1,421, pushing the 7-day average over 1,000. <a href=”https://t.co/IQYu9w5wr4″>pic.twitter.com/IQYu9w5wr4</a>
According to the COVID Tracking Project by The Atlantic, there have been about 15,000 new hospitalizations since the Nov. 3 election.
Among the many health officials sounding the alarm is Dr. Julie Watson of Integris Health in Oklahoma.
“We are in trouble,” she said. “If nothing is done soon to slow the rise in cases, our hospitals will be more overwhelmed than they already are and we won’t be able to be there for all of those who need it.”
Subdued Veterans Day ceremonies
Oklahoma’s health department said Wednesday that 1,248 people were hospitalized for confirmed or probable coronavirus, shattering the previous one-day record of 1,055.
Texas reported 10,865 new cases on Tuesday, breaking a record set in mid-July. One of the hardest-hit places is the border city of El Paso; its county has nearly 28,000 active cases and has suffered more than 680 COVID-19 deaths.
The American Medical Association renewed its plea for mask-wearing, physical distancing and frequent hand-washing.
“With the holidays quickly approaching, each of us must do everything possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” AMA president Susan Bailey said. “Failing to do our part will prolong the suffering and disruption to our lives and inevitably lead to more deaths of our friends, neighbours and loved ones.”
Meanwhile, many traditional Veterans Day celebrations gave way to sombre virtual gatherings on Wednesday. Many veterans homes have barred visitors to protect their residents from the virus.
In New York City, a quiet parade of military vehicles, with no spectators, rolled through Manhattan to maintain the 101-year tradition of veterans marching on Fifth Avenue.
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.
Here are some other steps being taken around the country:
Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine issued new orders on mask enforcement at businesses, while threatening to close bars, restaurants and fitness centres if infections keep surging. The Republican governor shifted the authority over mask enforcement from the counties to the state. But DeWine’s orders Wednesday were not as far-reaching as in March, when Ohio became one of the first states to go into lockdown.
Nebraska: New restrictions took effect Wednesday, including a requirement to wear masks at businesses where employees have close contact with customers for more than 15 minutes, such as barbershops, and a limit on large indoor gatherings to 25 per cent of a building’s capacity. Gov. Pete Ricketts and his wife have gone into quarantine after being exposed to someone with the virus.
Kentucky: The governor implored people to wear masks as the state posted a record daily high for new confirmed cases, at 2,700.
Minnesota: The NFL’s Vikings will close their remaining home games to fans, as the state blew past its record for new deaths in a day. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants and said he wishes the neighbouring Dakotas would take more aggressive steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He said this summer’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was “absolutely unnecessary” and helped spread the virus beyond that state.
South Dakota: Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken cast a tie-breaking vote that defeated a proposed mask mandate.
North Dakota: The state continues to have the most new COVID-19 cases per capita in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins data, with one in every 83 residents testing positive in the past week.