Twenty-one states are reporting increased Covid-19 cases as experts warn of a fall surge

Almost half the US is reporting increased numbers of new Covid-19...

Posted: Sep 28, 2020 7:21 AM

Almost half the US is reporting increased numbers of new Covid-19 cases as health experts warn of a potential coronavirus surge in the fall and winter.

As of Sunday, the number of new coronavirus cases has increased by at least 10% or more compared to the week before in 21 states, most of them in the West, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Cases are rising in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eighteen states were holding steady. Only 11 -- Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire -- saw decreases of new cases of more than 10% compared to the week prior.

The US could see an explosion of Covid-19 cases in the fall and winter as people exercise less caution and spend more time indoors, where there is a greater likelihood of transmission, according to Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Murray says the IHME model shows a "huge surge" expected to take off in October "and accelerate in November and December." The IHME model indicates that the country is currently seeing about 765 daily deaths from Covid-19, but that number could jump to 3,000 daily deaths by late December.

New York state on Saturday reported more than 1,000 new cases for the first time since early June, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to warn residents about growing complacent going forward.

"It's vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight Covid-19 as we move into the fall and flu season," Cuomo said in a statement. "Wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands make a critical difference, as does the deliberate enforcement of state guidance by local governments."

Wisconsin reported 2,817 new cases on Saturday, the state's highest single-day increase in cases. The previous record was set September 18 with 2,533 cases, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. On Sunday, 2,217 new cases were reported for a total of 115,862 cases statewide, according to the department.

Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order mandating face coverings in an effort to keep infections down. In a news release, his office attributed rising cases primarily to infections among 18- to 24-year-olds and said the state was "facing a new and dangerous phase" of the pandemic.

"We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together," Evers said.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield previously warned the fall and winter could be "one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health." And with daily cases averaging 40,000 nationwide, the new season could be a challenge, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association on Friday.

"You're going to have to do a lot of things indoors out of necessity of the temperature, and I'm afraid, with that being the case, if we don't carefully follow the guidelines ... the masking, the distance, the crowds, that we may see another surge," he said.

The US surpassed 7 million infections of Covid-19 on Friday. More than 204,000 people have died.

Miami mayor concerned as Florida drops restrictions on restaurant and bars

As Florida restaurants and bars enjoyed their first full day of operation without Covid-19 restrictions in months on Saturday, the mayor of Miami warned that the governor's decision to fully reopen such establishments and to limit local governments' ability to enforce their own restrictions could have devastating consequences.

"I think it's going to have a huge impact," Mayor Francis Suarez told CNN Saturday about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' decision to allow restaurants, bars and other businesses to open at full capacity and to suspend fines for all outstanding penalties issued to those who didn't follow Covid-19 restrictions -- such as not wearing a mask in public. "You know, I just don't know how many people are actually going to do it now."

DeSantis signed an executive order on Friday evening allowing restaurants and bars to immediately begin operating at 100% capacity. He cited the economic hardships of not operating businesses at full capacity, according to the order.

The opportunity to fully reopen was welcomed by some restaurant and bar owners who said their businesses have suffered over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Being closed six months has been really difficult for the employees, the customers, the family. It's been really difficult," Mike Penrod, the owner of the Elbo Room bar in Fort Lauderdale, told CNN affiliate WSVN on Saturday.

Gaffer's Pub in Davie, Florida, was also closed for six months, owner Debbie Qualls told CNN affiliate WPLG. And while safety remains a top priority, she said reopening is going to save her business.

"We've had to pay the rent, the electric, all the bills," Qualls said. "If it was too much longer, we wouldn't be here."

Florida surpassed 700,000 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and the virus has killed more than 14,000 people in the state.

Mandating mask wearing in public and slowly reopening has helped to keep the coronavirus case count down in Miami, Suarez said. He's concerned the changes in the state are coming as flu season ramps up and schools prepare for in-person learning to begin in mid-October.

"We'll see in the next couple of weeks whether (the governor's) right about his perspective. But if he's wrong about his perspective ... it's going to be very, very, very difficult for him and it's going to be a very difficult time, because it's in the middle of flu season," Suarez said.

Normal could be a long way off -- even with a vaccine

Fauci says Covid-19 vaccinations could "very likely" start in November or December. Thirty-eight vaccines are in human trials around the world, including six in the US.

But it could still be a while until the US is back to normal, Fauci said.

"By the time you get enough people vaccinated ... so that you can start thinking about maybe getting a little bit more towards normality, that very likely, as I and others have said, will be maybe the third quarter or so of 2021," he told Bauchner. "Maybe even into the fourth quarter."

Until then, Fauci and other leading experts have urged Americans to continue heeding safety guidelines and wearing masks, keeping a distance, avoid crowded places and washing their hands. The measures could be life-saving.

Meantime, experts are working to combat skepticism about an eventual vaccine and its approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. The race for a vaccine and its importance has resulted in a significantly accelerated development process.

One recent poll found a majority of Americans believe political pressure from the Trump administration could cause the FDA to rush the approval of a vaccine before Election Day on November 3.

Those concerns were exacerbated this week when President Donald Trump claimed the White House could override the FDA if the agency released tougher standards for authorization of a vaccine. The FDA declined to comment on the President's claim.

But Fauci sought to dispel worries of political interference, which he called the "big elephant in the room."

"If you look at the standard process of how these things work, I think you could feel comfortable that it is really unlikely that that's going to happen," he told Bauchner, adding he trusts the scientists and commissioner of the FDA.

"You got to reassure people who have concern and skepticism there that these are professionals at the FDA that have been doing this their entire career," he said. "They really know what they're doing."

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23443377
Mobile16934315
Tuscaloosa10414140
Montgomery10298197
Madison939496
Shelby743663
Baldwin669469
Lee655065
Calhoun462161
Marshall441150
Etowah431251
Morgan418235
Houston418034
DeKalb346129
Elmore322753
St. Clair299942
Limestone289330
Walker282392
Talladega267435
Cullman250824
Lauderdale231342
Jackson217515
Autauga207431
Franklin206131
Colbert204132
Russell19533
Blount194225
Chilton189332
Dallas187227
Coffee179511
Dale177251
Covington175529
Escambia173030
Clarke135317
Chambers135244
Pike134413
Tallapoosa133087
Marion109729
Barbour10339
Marengo102522
Butler101340
Winston93713
Geneva9167
Lawrence86132
Pickens86018
Bibb84314
Randolph82916
Hale77730
Clay74912
Washington74912
Cherokee74514
Henry7196
Lowndes71428
Bullock64917
Monroe64810
Crenshaw60930
Perry5936
Fayette58413
Cleburne5738
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56113
Macon53720
Lamar5065
Sumter47321
Choctaw39212
Greene34616
Coosa2053
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 249866

Reported Deaths: 3163
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby36685565
Davidson31975343
Knox1284891
Rutherford12017115
Hamilton11867109
Williamson718756
Sumner6184112
Wilson473159
Putnam445657
Montgomery424057
Out of TN415136
Sullivan381946
Madison381479
Bradley361923
Washington356951
Maury338938
Blount337436
Sevier336423
Robertson262842
Hamblen247548
Tipton238123
Unassigned22615
Dyer224732
Gibson217244
Coffee192325
Hardeman190533
Greene181252
Obion179522
Trousdale17768
Bedford174520
Dickson170719
Fayette169825
Anderson169713
McMinn165937
Lawrence164520
Loudon164311
Cumberland161327
Wayne16047
Carter158334
Weakley157326
Jefferson156421
Monroe147228
Warren144910
Lauderdale144117
Henderson142126
Hardin140420
Macon134825
Roane13217
Franklin130220
Haywood129728
Overton122917
Hawkins122625
White119414
Johnson11577
Marshall115710
Carroll115326
McNairy113427
Rhea112418
Cocke108014
Cheatham106911
Campbell103512
Bledsoe10264
Smith99413
Lake9873
Giles98336
Fentress91811
Lincoln9173
Crockett87020
Hickman81015
Henry80211
Marion7839
DeKalb73717
Chester73314
Decatur66311
Grainger6124
Grundy57511
Union5463
Claiborne5286
Polk51713
Humphreys4584
Jackson4535
Morgan4437
Unicoi4333
Houston42317
Benton4219
Cannon4212
Lewis4185
Clay40615
Scott3865
Sequatchie3472
Stewart33611
Meigs3296
Perry3082
Pickett2748
Moore2722
Van Buren2081
Hancock1213

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