The US hit a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations Tuesday and surpassed 1 million new confirmed cases in just the first 10 days of November amid a nationwide surge of infections that shows no signs of slowing.
The new wave appears bigger and more widespread than the surges that happened in the spring and summer — and threatens to be worse. But experts say there are also reasons to think the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time around.
“We’re definitely in a better place” when it comes to improved medical tools and knowledge, said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious-disease researcher.
Newly confirmed infections in the US were running at all-time highs of well over 100,000 per day, pushing the total to more than 10 million and eclipsing 1 million since Halloween. There are now 61,964 people hospitalized, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Several states posted records Tuesday, including over 12,600 new cases in Illinois, 10,800 in Texas and 7,000 in Wisconsin.
Deaths — a lagging indicator, since it takes time for people to get sick and die — are climbing again, reaching an average of more than 930 a day.
Hospitals are getting slammed. And unlike the earlier outbreaks, this one is not confined to a region or two.
“The virus is spreading in a largely uncontrolled fashion across the vast majority of the country,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at Vanderbilt University.
Governors made increasingly desperate pleas for people to take the fight against the virus more seriously.
In an unusual prime-time speech hours after Wisconsin set new records for infections and deaths, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced that he was advising people to stay in their houses and businesses to allow people to work remotely, require masks and limit the number of people in stores and offices.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, ordered bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m., and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said she will require masks at indoor gatherings of 25 or more people, inching toward more stringent measures after months of holding out.
While deaths are still well below the US peak of about 2,200 per day back in April, some researchers estimate the nation’s overall toll will hit about 400,000 by Feb. 1, up from about 240,000 now.