You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Key indicators suggest US COVID-19 outbreak is headed in wrong direction

ABC News logo ABC News 10/16/2020
a man and a woman in a blue shirt: Medical personnel work inside a field hospital known as an Alternate Care Facility at the state fair ground as COVID-19 cases spike in the state near Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 12, 2020. © Wisconsin Department Of Administration via Reuters Medical personnel work inside a field hospital known as an Alternate Care Facility at the state fair ground as COVID-19 cases spike in the state near Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 12, 2020.

Coronavirus cases in the United States are headed toward a third peak, as cases continue to climb throughout the Midwest, Mountain West, Northeast, South and West.

Back in April, the country hit a grim milestone, logging a record seven-day average of 31,165 new daily cases, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project. Those high numbers eased off until July, when the country broke its record, logging a seven-day average of 66,143 new cases each day.

After a late-summer respite, the nation recorded a seven-day average of 53,282 new cases Oct. 16, meaning the U.S. is on track to break its daily infection record for the third time.

chart, histogram: Illustration © The COVID Tracking Project Illustration MORE: The last COVID-free counties in America

Beyond grim national statistics, including 37,000 Americans currently hospitalized with COVID-19, there are worrying state-level indications that the outbreak is headed in the wrong direction as winter approaches.

Infections are increasing in 38 states, with eight reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 15. Hospitalizations are trending upward in 39 states, including in Utah, where Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare, said the uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations is straining the health care system.

a group of people looking at each other: Medical personnel work inside a field hospital known as an Alternate Care Facility at the state fair ground as COVID-19 cases spike in the state near Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 12, 2020. © Wisconsin Department Of Administration via Reuters Medical personnel work inside a field hospital known as an Alternate Care Facility at the state fair ground as COVID-19 cases spike in the state near Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 12, 2020. MORE: NY doctors were at the center of COVID battle. Here's what they say about the fall.

"This is getting to a point where we're going to be opening up overflow ICUs," Stenehjem told told Salt Lake City ABC affiliate KTVX.

"We're load-leveling like never before. We're transferring patients," Stenehjem added. In addition to concerns about patient care, the high level of COVID-19 hospitalizations is taking a toll on health care workers.

"We may have beds to take care of these patients, but our staff is getting incredibly tired and short and our ICU nurses are working around the clock," Stenejhem said.

a woman taking a selfie in a room: A nurse administers a flu vaccination shot at a free clinic held at a local library on Oct.14, 2020, in Lakewood, Calif. © Mario Tama/Getty Images A nurse administers a flu vaccination shot at a free clinic held at a local library on Oct.14, 2020, in Lakewood, Calif. MORE: Drug overdose deaths rose during the 1st months of 2020: CDC

In addition to rising new cases and hospitalizations, 13 states are reporting an increasing number of COVID-19 deaths.

In Texas, two funeral homes told El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA they added extra mortuary refrigerators due to increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

"First, initially, we see the rise in positive cases," Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the county health authority told KVIA. "Then we see the rise in hospitalizations, and unfortunately, we see the rise in deaths."

ABC News' Soorin Kim, Brian Hartman, Benjamin Bell and Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.

What to know about the coronavirus:

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From ABC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon