By Mitch Smith, Richard Pérez-Peña, Karen Zraick and Ron DePasquale
The New York Times
Governors and public health officials across the United States are pleading with Americans to change their behavior and prepare for a long winter as the country shatters record after record for coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Both records were broken yet again Friday, as more than 181,100 new cases were reported nationwide, and on Saturday more than 159,000 new cases were recorded, the third-highest total of the pandemic. The seven-day average of new daily cases is more than 145,000, with upward trends in 48 states. Twenty-nine states added more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day period.
With more than 1,017,000 cases added since Nov. 7 — the first time that more than 1 million cases were reported in a seven-day period — that means that roughly one in every 323 people in the United States were reported to have tested positive in the last week.
The virus has also killed more than 1,000 Americans a day in the past week, a toll that would shock the nation, were it not for the fact that twice as many people were dying daily during a stretch in April, when doctors knew less about how to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
More than 1,210 new deaths were reported Saturday, pushing the seven-day average to more than 1,120 a day, a 38% increase from the average two weeks ago. Four states set death records on Saturday: Wyoming (17), Oklahoma (23), Montana (36) and South Dakota (53).
On Saturday, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, Utah, Montana and Alaska all set single-day records for new cases.
North Dakota also hit a single-day record Saturday, announcing 2,270 new cases. In a reversal, the state’s governor, Doug Burgum, announced several measures late Friday, including a mask mandate and a suspension of high school winter sports and extracurricular activities until Dec. 14. The state has critically understaffed hospitals and the highest rates of new cases and deaths per person in the nation.
In New Mexico on Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the nation’s most sweeping statewide measure of the fall season, issuing a two-week “stay at home” order to begin Monday. Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon issued orders Friday to place the state in a partial lockdown for two weeks.