The United States has hit yet another grim milestone in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the country recorded over 100,000 new infections in a single day. This latest statistic comes as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise drastically ahead of the flu season.
Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana and West Virginia were amongst several states that reported record-high numbers of new cases.
“We are again in danger of losing control of this pandemic in Iowa,” Suresh Gunasekaran, chief executive of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, wrote in an urgent appeal to the state’s residents. “Our COVID positivity rates skyrocketed twice before, but this is the first time we have seen rates this high while also dealing with record patient hospitalizations.”
Many states are being forced to make changes to respond to the rise in cases. Hospitals in the St. Louis and Omaha metropolitan areas are rescheduling elective surgeries to free up hospital beds. On Tuesday, the head of the Arkansas Hospital Association revealed that the state was scrambling to address a shortage in health care workers.
The massive single day infection rate can be attributed to states such as South Dakota, which does not have a mask mandate in place. The number of positive cases within the state has jumped 61% in just two weeks. The state has averaged 994 new cases daily. Despite these statistics, their governor does not see a need to make masks a requirement.
“Those who don’t want to wear a mask shouldn’t be shamed into wearing one,” said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem earlier this month. “And government should not mandate it.”
Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota said that the pandemic is “going to ultimately end up being an entire country on fire.”
“I don’t see any location in the United States that’s going to be free of a major increase in cases,” Dr. Osterholm said. “And I think we’re just getting started.”
This increase comes as the country remains fixated on the historic presidential election, which health officials fear is taking the attention off of the COVID-19 outbreak.