Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures pushing people inward could encourage the virus to spread.
At least nine US states have reported record spikes in COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, particularly in the upper Midwest and West, where colder weather is forcing people indoors.
Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures pushing people inward could encourage the virus to spread. The daily highs in the upper Midwest are now 10 degrees Celsius.
Four states – Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin – saw record increases in new cases, according to a Reuters analysis. Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new case records last week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase of at least 49,327 cases from the previous count on Sunday and said the death toll had increased by at least 703.
While the death rate has dropped about 12 percent, nearly 210,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.
According to separate data from Johns Hopkins University, only Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina have reported decreases in case numbers.
According to a Reuters analysis, New York is one of only 18 states where cases haven’t increased significantly in the past two weeks.
COVID precaution fatigue
But on Sunday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would close non-essential shops and schools in nine neighborhoods from Wednesday. The lockdown would require the governor’s approval.
Meanwhile, Montana has reported a record number of new cases in three of the past four days and a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals.
Wisconsin has set records for new cases in two of the past three days and reported record hospitals on Saturday as well. On average, 22 percent of tests are positive, one of the highest rates in the country.
The Democratic governor of Wisconsin ordered masks on Aug. 1, but Republican lawmakers support a lawsuit against the request.
North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin have the highest new cases per capita in the US.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is one of several prominent Republicans who have tested positive for coronavirus since President Donald Trump announced he had signed COVID-19.
Due to the surge in some cases, some nursing homes and assisted living facilities are closed to visitors, while Bellin Health, which operates a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said the emergency room was intermittently congested and doctors needed to place patients in last week Beds in the hallways.
The US reports 42,600 new cases and an average of 700 deaths every day, compared with 35,000 cases and 800 deaths in mid-September. Deaths are a lagging indicator and typically increase for several weeks after cases increase.
Kentucky is the first southern state to see record increases in cases in several weeks. Governor Andy Beshear said last week was the highest number of cases the state has seen since the pandemic began.
State health experts haven’t pinpointed the reason for the surge, but they point to fatigue from COVID-19 precautions and student returns to schools and colleges. In the past two weeks, Kentucky has reported nearly 11,000 new cases and increased hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients by 20 percent.