What does it look like when a country sets a record for coronavirus cases — and then breaks it again the next day?
The United States recorded at least 121,00 new infections on Thursday, a day after hitting 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, and for many Americans, fatalism was the order of the day.
“We knew it was just a matter of time,” said Matt Christensen.
Mr. Christensen was sitting in a minivan in Racine, Wis., his wife next to him and their three children in the back seat, waiting to be tested for the virus. Nearby, feverish and desperate, other people confined to their cars also waited.
On Thursday, as they waited, the coronavirus was spreading relentlessly across America, and America was speeding toward yet another record.
In a single day across America, from dawn to nightfall, it churned through homes, workplaces, hospitals, schools and laboratories.
In Cleveland, lab workers began another grinding day of processing coronavirus tests. In Minot, N.D., a hospital scrambled to find space for the crush of patients who came through the doors. And in Unionville, Conn., grieving relatives planned the funeral of a family’s 98-year-old matriarch, who died from the virus.
In the morning, governors began what is now a familiar routine: pleading in front of news cameras for Americans to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.
“This virus doesn’t care if we voted for Donald Trump, doesn’t care if we voted for Joe Biden,” Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio said two days after Americans went to the polls. “It’s coming after all of us.”
In Ohio, which set its own record Thursday, a giant fridge at the Cleveland Clinic, glowed with rows and rows of coronavirus samples. Technicians shook test tubes and squinted at graphs on computer screens, trying to determine whether yet another patient had tested positive. “I work, I go home, I come back,” one lab supervisor said.
In Virginia, students in the Henry County Public Schools district were at work in their classes. But 22 staff members and students had tested positive, and hundreds more had been quarantined. So the superintendent went before the school board to recommend that the district revert to virtual learning until January. The vote was unanimous, and come Monday, the district’s schools will close.
In Minot, N.D., patients crammed an emergency room at Trinity Health, waiting to be admitted. The entire floor dedicated to coronavirus patients had no more available beds. Dr. Jeffrey Sather, the chief of staff, called other large hospitals around the state to see if he could send some patients there. But every hospital was also full.
Many on his staff were working overtime, and Dr. Sather said he was worried about all they were seeing every day. “They are witnessing people suffocate to death on a regular basis,” he said.
In Connecticut, Amanda Harper had always imagined her grandmother’s funeral as a full celebration of a life. The service for Juliette Marie Foley, 98, would have been at a church, followed by family time where loved ones would have pored over old photos and swapped stories.
But that was before the pandemic.
In October, Ms. Foley contracted the coronavirus. An avid baker and seamstress, she died on the last day of the month.
On Thursday afternoon, there were still details for the family to consider. Would the Zoom link to the funeral work? Could they keep those few attending in person safe?
“This pandemic has robbed us of the way we say goodbye,” said Ms. Harper.
By nightfall, the nation hurtled past the 100,000-case mark once again. Sixteen states set daily case records on Thursday, and three had death records. In 28 states, there have been more cases announced in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch.
A quarter of a million coronavirus infections have been reported at colleges and universities across the United States, according to a New York Times survey, as schools across the nation struggle to keep outbreaks in check.
The bulk of the cases have occurred since students returned for the fall semester, with more than 38,000 new cases reported in the past two weeks alone.
And the numbers are almost certainly an undercount.
The Times’s survey — which includes more than 1,700 American colleges and universities, including every four-year public institution and every private college that competes in N.C.A.A. sports — is believed to be the most comprehensive tally available. But the lack of a centralized national tracking system or consistent statewide data means the full toll is hard to capture.
When The Times last tallied campus cases on Oct. 22, the figure was 214,000. Now it is more than 252,000.
More than a third of U.S. universities welcomed students back in some capacity this fall.
Some of them have appeared to keep the virus in check, primarily through extensive testing programs, even as they try to provide some semblance of a normal college experience for their students.
But others have done less well, failing to enforce social distancing and other preventive measures in an environment that normally revolves around communal living, group activities, large social gatherings and in-person learning.
Many school officials blame students when there are spikes in cases, chastising them for failing to abide by the new rules that have transformed campus life in 2020.
At Syracuse University, school had barely opened when officials issued an open letter castigating a group of students who had thrown a large party and “selfishly jeopardized the very thing that so many of you claim to want from Syracuse University — that is, a chance at a residential college experience.”
Syracuse has reported 257 coronavirus cases since March.
Some students say administrators should have seen it coming when they chose to reopen in person.
“It’s very difficult to say whether, you know, it’s really on students for throwing these honestly reckless parties, or whether they’re just simply acting how college students are going to act in these kind of situations,” Dylan Brooks, a senior at Arizona State University told his school newspaper. “Of course, if you’re bringing A.S.U. college students back to A.S.U., this is how they’re going to act.”
The school, which has 44,000 students, has reported 2,518 cases.
The coronavirus has been responsible for at least 80 deaths on college campuses this year. While most of those deaths were reported in the spring and involved school employees, several students have died in recent weeks as a result of the virus.
As case numbers skyrocket across the nation, that number is expected to rise.
------ “There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” -Albert Camus
The study shows that people who received two doses as part of the trial saw 90 percent fewer symptomatic cases of Covid-19 than participants who were given a placebo. This is a far higher success rate than many experts had expected.
Though there have been no serious safety concerns yet, Pfizer said it would not apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization until it had two months worth of safety data, which will likely not come until the third week of November.
NEWS: Sec. Ben Carson tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. His deputy chief of staff says he's "in good spirits & feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery." Carson attended the election night party at the White House
------ “There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” -Albert Camus
8. "“Today, states reported that 61,964 people were hospitalized with COVI..." In response to Reply # 0
“Today, states reported that 61,964 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, more than at any other time in the pandemic. For context, there are now 40 percent more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than there were two weeks ago.”
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here.
The United States is experiencing an unprecedented surge of hospitalizations across the country. Today, states reported that 61,964 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, more than at any other time in the pandemic. For context, there are now 40 percent more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than there were two weeks ago. A graph shows how the number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has changed over time since March 1. The current number of people who are hospitalized is very similar to the record highs we’ve seen in the spring and summer surges of 2020. Latest data is as of November 10.
Seventeen states are at their current peaks for hospitalizations today. According to local news reports, hospitals are already on the brink of being overwhelmed in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, and officials in many other states warn that their health-care systems will be dangerously stressed if cases continue to rise.
Read: A dreadful new peak for the American pandemic
The new hospitalization record underscores that we’ve entered the worst period for the pandemic since the original outbreak in the Northeast. Although the number of detected cases was much lower back then because of test shortages, the large number of hospitalizations (and deaths) indicate that there were many more times the number of infections than our then-embryonic and broken testing system could confirm.
In the following months, some commentators, including government advisers, have played down the large case counts by saying tests were detecting people who weren’t actually sick—or if they were sick, only mildly sick. These hospitalization numbers prove that the current surge of COVID-19 cases is not merely the result of increased screening of asymptomatic people. Rather, the cases we’re detecting are a leading indicator that many people are seriously ill. Although case numbers are heavily influenced by the number of tests accessible in a particular area, hospitalizations are not.
The burst of hospitalizations is primarily located in the Midwest, where cases began to rise weeks ago. We have seen no indication that there is an end in sight to the outbreaks in the region. The outbreaks in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio began spiking more than three weeks after early outlier Wisconsin—and cases and hospitalizations in Wisconsin are still rising.
Read: Wisconsin is on the brink of a major outbreak Two side-by-side charts show how daily positive case and current hospitalizations have changed between April 1 and November 10 in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The graphs show that cases and hospitalizations have spiked in recent weeks.
What we’re seeing in the Midwest could foreshadow what is in store for the rest of the nation. The current wave of COVID-19 infections stretches across the whole country, and hospitalizations are rising in every region. Per capita, hospitalizations in the Midwest have now outpaced the South’s peak over the summer.
Even the Midwest remains far short of the per-capita hospitalizations in the Northeast’s spring outbreaks, but some low-population Midwest states are posting alarming per-capita numbers. And as noted above, we may have a long way to go before we see these outbreaks peak.
In both North and South Dakota, more than 1 in 2,000 state residents are hospitalized with COVID-19 right now. Only New York and New Jersey have seen higher rates of hospitalizations per capita. This graph shows how per capita hospitalizations per state have changed over time from March 1 through November 10. South Dakota and North Dakota have rates of hospitalizations per capita that are higher than any other state right now. The only two states that have recorded higher rates of hospitalizations per capita were New York and New Jersey back in April during the first surge.
Treatments for COVID-19 have improved since the Northeast outbreak. The ratio of hospitalizations to deaths has fallen tremendously since the spring. But it is also true that wherever we see hospitalizations go up, deaths rise two to three weeks later. We’ve seen it happen in state after state, in region after region, and nationally as well.
Improved outcomes depend on maintaining the highest standard of care. With hospitalization numbers like these, it is not clear that health-care systems in all hard-hit areas will be able to maintain this standard. In North Dakota, so many health-care workers have contracted COVID-19 that the state is now putting asymptomatic—but still infectious—workers back into hospitals to care for patients. Another crucial difference from the spring: When the surge hit New York and New Jersey, thousands of medical workers flew in from all over the country to help treat patients. With so many states experiencing severe outbreaks at the same time, it could be harder to mobilize surges of frontline workers to areas where health-care systems are at risk of failure.
The COVID-19 fatality rate is not a constant that can be permanently improved by better knowledge of the disease and the availability of treatments alone. To recover, patients require attentive, informed, round-the-clock care. Although hospital systems have made emergency calls for federal staffing support, discharged seriously ill patients to die at home, and been forced to send patients to other regional hospitals, the United States has never experienced the kind of widespread health-care collapse and care rationing seen in other parts of the world in the spring.
Throughout the year, hospitals and health-care workers have issued warnings that if we do see hospitals overwhelmed, fatality rates will soar. As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise nationwide, we are poised to enter a new and possibly bleaker phase of the pandemic. We can only hope that if more state officials act quickly to establish effective mitigation measures, their effects will come in time to avoid the worst.
------ “There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” -Albert Camus
9. "it's gonna be a bad winter. and the 'head' of the task force is on vacay" In response to Reply # 8
I'm debating even meeting with my family. We're supposed to be traveling (strike 1), staying at some resort (strike 2), and meeting up with non-household fam (strike 3). 10 damn people. I love em but man idk idk idk
the US has 1/5th of the world's cases. fucking TERRIBLE.
13. "Wife’s coworker had knee surgery..." In response to Reply # 0
she went to her parent's house to stay with them during her recovery. Her father got sick and tested positive. Mother got tested and was also positive. Her coworker left, but ended up testing negative. The mother recovered. Father got worse and was hospitalized. She texted about 2 hours ago, that he was being removed from the ventilator. She just texted that he passed. He died at the hospital, with no family, there. They didn’t even get to say goodbye.
...cleaned up my act, made a few violent songs...but, they wack like Glen Rice with New Balance on - Sean Price
President Donald Trump hasn't attended a meeting of the White House's coronavirus task force in five months, and has taken no steps to slow a surge in the disease since losing his reelection bid, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The president has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in "at least five months," a senior official with knowledge of the meetings told the publication. According to the report, Trump is no longer taking an active role in managing the crisis's response.
The report comes with coronavirus cases again surging again in the US, with the number of new cases hitting a record daily high of 184,521 on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are also continuing to increase, with 1,431 new deaths recorded on Friday.
White House spokeswoman Sarah A Matthews pushed back against the report, and told Business Insider: "The President is regularly briefed about the coronavirus. The relevant information is brought to him on the big decisions, and then he moves forward in the way that's best for our country."
Trump was once a mainstay at the coronavirus task force's daily briefing, but the daily appearances were abruptly halted after the president suggested injecting disinfectant to ward off the virus in bizarre off the cuff remarks in April.
In recent months the president pledged that no widespread restrictions would be introduced by his administration and has taken an increasingly less active role in federal government measures to fight the crisis.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert on the White House coronavirus task force, in comments at a Chatham House event Friday, warned of a "challenging and ominous" situation with winter approaching and the disease continues to spread as people are "congregating indoors."
In veiled criticism of Trump, Fauci said that the US had reopened too early after an initial peak of the disease in spring, adding "when we tried to open the economy and open the country again we did it in a disparate way. We didn't have uniform adherence to the guidelines."
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has spread false claims and disinformation as he sought to downplay the impact of the disease and ignored or dismissed measures advocated by public health officials, such as wearing masks, to halt the spread of the disease. The disease has surged through the White House, with the president himself hospitalized for three days with the illness in September.
At a press briefing at the White House Rose Garden Friday, Trump hailed the development of a coronavirus vaccine by pharmaceuticals firm Pfizer which is expected to widely available early next year.
Trump has raged about the news of the vaccine being announced days after his defeat to Biden in the presidential election. On Twitter, Trump groundlessly claimed "the Democrats" and officials inside his administration had suppressed the vaccine to ensure his defeat.
The president's botched response to the crisis is seen as one of the key reasons behind his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden in November's presidential election.
Biden has pledged to renew the federal government's fight against the disease when he takes office on January 20. In comments on Friday, he demanded Trump do more to combat the crisis.
"The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration — starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is," said Biden.