The United States on Friday set a new record on coronavirus infections, reporting 187,907 positive cases of the coronavirus. This follows a two week period in which new infections increased dramatically. Alabama also set a record for cases in a single day on Friday at 2,980 cases.
COVID-19 deaths nationally surpassed 250,000 Saturday and are now at 251,168 with 3,248 of them being Alabamians.
Coronavirus cases aren’t just on the rise in a number of hot spots. They are increasing in nearly every single state, with Midwestern states racking up the highest number of cases per capita.
As of Sunday afternoon, there were nearly 70,000 Americans filling hospital beds with COVID-19. On Saturday, 20,415 of them were in serious or critical condition. As of Sunday, 1,195 Alabamians were in the hospital with COVID-19.
In Alabama, we are dangerously close to surpassing the level of infections we saw in July, the previous peak for the pandemic. On Saturday, the seven-day average for new coronavirus infections was 1,909 cases per day, the highest level it has been since mid-July when it reached 1,921 cases per day. On Sunday, that number reached 2,019, the highest it’s ever been.
Some 11,394 health care workers in Alabama have contracted the virus, including 788 reported in November alone.
On July 15, Gov. Kay Ivey ordered that people wear masks or cloth face coverings. That appeared to have helped some, but not enough people, both in Alabama and nationally, are following the mask and social distancing recommendations.
Some states are taking stronger actions.
In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered bars, restaurants and gyms to shut down in-house services from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. and has limited attendance at private parties to just 10.
“We’re seeing a national and global COVID surge, and New York is a ship on the COVID tide,” Cuomo told reporters. Coumo insists that gatherings at bars, restaurants and gyms have been a prime source of the virus’s spread across the state, according to contact tracing.
In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has issued a new face mask order, which includes directives for businesses to post signs about the new rule at entrances and enforce the rule with employees and customers, with inspections taking place by the state. Businesses caught not in compliance could ultimately be temporarily shut down.
DeWine has warned that if the trend continues, he “will be forced to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers.”
The Washington Post reports that daily coronavirus infections have surpassed 3,000 in the Washington, D.C., region, setting a new record.
According to the CDC, the states with the highest rates of new infections are North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
There have been 14,135 new cases in Alabama diagnosed in the last seven days along with 164 deaths reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health in the last week.
Alabama remains under a “safer-at-home” order and mask mandate through Dec. 11. Without dramatic improvement, that is likely to be extended into 2021.
Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and an advisor to the Biden transition team, warned that the country is headed toward “COVID hell,” and that lockdowns of four to six weeks could become necessary.
There is very little political support for a second lockdown, especially during the Christmas season.
COVID-19 was first diagnosed in China in 2019. Since then, it has killed at least 1,320,371 people globally.