The United States reported a record one-day surge of 126,400 new cases of the coronavirus as medical experts warn that the outbreak is worsening across the country and could lead to a devastating winter.
The United States has reported a new record of one-day cases every day for the past three days, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the past seven days, the country has reported an average of more than 98,500 new cases on Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Hopkins, up over 25% from a week.
It's not just cases that arise; According to a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project run by journalists in the Atlantic, 19 states reported a record number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 based on an average of seven days.
According to CNBC's analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 has increased by at least 5% in 38 states.
The rise in new cases and hospitalizations is causing officials in some states and cities to put new restrictions in place, though these are nowhere near as severe as the lockdown measures implemented in March and April. The Connecticut governor reversed the state's reopening last week amid the first signs of a growing outbreak. In Massachusetts, the governor has put a curfew on some businesses and asked residents to stay at home between 10:00 PM and 10:00 PM. and 5 a.m.
In El Paso, Texas, District Judge Ricardo Samaniego ordered the closure of all non-essential stores as hospitals there began to be overwhelmed by the surge in Covid-19 patients. And Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker introduced new restrictions on businesses in Chicago and several surrounding counties as cases there grew.
Epidemiologists and medical experts warn that the dynamics of this phase of the pandemic differ from that of the country in spring and summer. While the virus spread to certain parts of the country earlier in the pandemic, it is now spreading rapidly in almost all communities in the country, Christine Peterson, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa, said in a telephone interview.
"It's going to be bad and I think it's going to be bad another way because instead of having these pictures of hearses and densely populated areas with lots of patients, these are going to be lots of smaller places," she said. "So it's going to be harder to see the obvious effects because they're so prevalent in these really small urban hospitals, but they're really going to have problems."
In the spring, the virus spread most widely in the New York City area as well as a handful of other cities. In summer it spread the fastest over the so-called sun belt. However, data from Hopkins shows that the fastest spread of the virus is in heartlands such as Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa, depending on the population.
Peterson said remote health systems in these areas could be more easily overwhelmed by an influx of Covid-19 patients than medical centers in large cities. She added that while doctors have learned a lot about how to treat Covid-19 patients effectively, it doesn't mean that every doctor is equipped to do it.
"The thing to remember is that doctors as a population have learned how to better treat this, but that doesn't mean the doctor in northeast Iowa saw this disease," she said. "You see it now; you didn't see it in March."
Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency doctor and director of the Brown Lifespan Center for Digital Health, said in an interview with CNBC that "the worst days of the pandemic are almost certainly still ahead of us".
She said maintaining a strong healthcare workforce will be a real challenge in the months ahead. The country still has a limited supply of personal protective equipment such as masks and medical gowns that protect health workers from infection, she said. Not to mention, doctors and nurses are increasingly exhausted from the inexorable rise in new Covid-19 patients, she added.
"While we were able to direct some additional resources to the hardest hit locations in these early stages, we are now watching them spread everywhere, putting every American at risk, but also stressing every hospital and healthcare system," she said.