A record surge of coronavirus cases in the United States is pushing hospitals to the brink of capacity and killing up to 1,000 people a day, the latest figures show, as much of the country focuses on Tuesday’s presidential election.
The U.S. broke its single-day record for new coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting at least 91,248 new cases, as 21 states reported their highest daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally of publicly reported data.
More than 1,000 people died of the virus on Thursday, marking the third time in October that milestone has been passed in a single day. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen over 50 per cent in October to 46,000, the highest since mid-August.
Among the hardest-hit states are those most hotly contested in the campaign between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, such as Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The surge has revived some of the worst images of the devastating first wave of the virus in March, April and May, with people on ventilators dying alone in hospital isolation and medical staff physically and mentally exhausted.
“Our hospitals cannot keep up with Utah’s infection rate. You deserve to understand the dire situation we face,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said on Twitter, echoing a similar refrain from other state and local officials and public health experts.
Herbert separately criticized demonstrators who went to the home of state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn this week.
Dunn said her personal information was shared online.
“It’s taken a really big toll on my family and myself,” Dunn said when asked about the protest during the governor’s weekly COVID-19 briefing. “I think it’s really unfortunate we live in a state where people feel that it is OK to harass civil servants.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats released a report on Friday condemning the Trump administration’s pandemic response as being “among the worst failures of leadership in American history.” The failures had forced at least 6 million Americans into poverty and left millions more jobless, it said.
Photo credit: Bing Guan/Reuters
News source: Reuters