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Covid spreading faster than ever in U.S., NBC numbers show

NBC News logo NBC News 10/27/2020 Nigel Chiwaya and Corky Siemaszko
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Covid-19 infections are spreading across the United States at the fastest rate since the start of the pandemic, the latest NBC News figures showed Tuesday.

The 71,000 new cases per day that the U.S. averaged over the past week was the most in any seven-day stretch since the crisis started and stood in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that “we are rounding the turn” on the pandemic.

And no part of the country has gone untouched by this latest surge in new coronavirus cases.

Wyoming, which had relatively few cases until recently, reported a 475 percent spike in Covid-19 deaths in the last 14 days, the numbers showed. Nine deaths were reported Monday in Wyoming, boosting the state’s total number of coronavirus fatalities to 77, the NBC numbers showed. Of those, five were elderly residents of a long-term care facility in Big Horn County, the Wyoming Department of Health reported. Also on Monday, the state set a single day record for new cases for the second time in less than a week, with 436.

Those numbers are tiny compared to Texas and California, which have the most cases in the country, but Wyoming with 579,000 residents is the nation’s least populated state.

Dr. J.J. Bleicher, the interim head of the Wyoming Medical Center, told The Casper Star-Tribune that they were bracing for an “exponential” growth in the number of critically ill Covid-19 patients.

In other coronavirus news:

With the presidential election now just a week away and Trump’s re-election chances imperiled by his administration’s much-criticized performance during the pandemic, the U.S. led the world in the number of Covid-19 cases with 8.8 million and nearly 227,000 deaths from the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard.

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Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Trump where polls show Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the lead, reported a record daily high of 2,751 new cases on Monday along with 23 deaths from Covid-19.

An average of 671 people died in the U.S. per day during the seven day period ending Monday, NBC News figures showed.

That’s a much lower death toll from the high of 2,803 fatalities-per-day recorded in April, when U.S. health officials were still trying to understand how the virus was spreading and scrambling to find enough ventilators and hospital beds to treat critically ill patients.

It was during this period that states like New York, which continues to lead the nation with 34,341 deaths, recorded most of its Covid-19 fatalities.

States like Texas (18,081 deaths) and Florida (16,652 deaths) recorded the bulk of their Covid-19 deaths after they started lifting their lockdowns in May, at the urging of Trump and to the dismay of public health experts, NBC News statistics have shown.

While Europe has been grappling with a second wave of Covid-19 infections that has forced countries like France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Poland to re-impose lockdowns and other restrictions aimed at curbing the spread, public health experts in the U.S. said the nation never made it out of the first wave.

“I look at it more as an elongated exacerbation of the original first wave,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday at a Yahoo Finance forum. “It’s kind of semantics. You want to call it the third wave or an extended first wave, no matter how you look at it, it’s not good news.”

With the weather getting colder and more people heading indoors where infections spread easier, Fauci and other infectious disease experts have been pleading with Americans to keep wearing masks and to social distance as much as possible.

Trump, however, continues to undermine that message by refusing to mask-up, even after he and first lady Melania Trump contracted Covid-19 themselves.

Neither was wearing a mask at Monday’s late night ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House to swear in new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, The New York Times reported. And neither did Barrett, who has also recovered from a coronavirus infection.

Other guests at the event were required to wear masks and social distance in an attempt by the White House to prevent Monday’s bash from turning into another “superspreader event” like last month’s Rose Garden ceremony when Barrett was officially introduced.


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