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With the presidential election just five days days away, coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all on sharp upward track in the US as the average number of daily infections reached a record high on Wednesday.
The seven-day rolling average number of new daily cases hit a record high of 74,134, according to aanalysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. A total of 78,981 new infections were recorded on Wednesday.
Daily deaths remain low compared the counts seen in the spring, but are now creeping toward 1,000 a day, with 994 fatalities recorded yesterday and 985 fatalities reported Tuesday
Hospitalizations have surged by 52 percent in the past month, with 45,045 people in the US hospitalized as of Wednesday.
That's the greatest number of people receiving inpatient care for COVID-19 since the July peak of nearly 60,000 hospitalizations.
Health care facilities are near the point of buckling under the burden of these coronavirus patients. Hospitals beds and ICUs are running out in Wisconsin, Colorado and parts of Tennessee, Illinois and Ohio.
The rising number of COVID-19 sufferers who need inpatient care adds weight to White House testing czar Admiral Brett Grioir's statement that cases really are rising at an alarming rate, and not just increasing in step with testing.
His Wednesday warning flew in the face of President Donald Trump, who Monday tweeted that the increase in US cases was simply because 'we TEST, TEST, TEST.'
'We do believe and the data show that the cases are going up,' Giroir said when asked about Trump's tweet on the TODAY show.
'It's not just a function of testing. Yes, we're getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up, and we know that too because hospitalizations are going up.'
There were more new coronavirus cases this week than in the previous week in 41 out of 50 states - including nearly every battleground state where Trump and Biden are vying for votes, according to analysis by Axios.
Over the course of that same week, President Trump has continued to insist that the US is 'rounding the turn' of the worse of the coronavirus pandemic, one White House office credited him with 'ending the coronavirus pandemic' (even as daily infections reached record highs) and reports emerged that the president is pushing for the nation to adopt a controversial 'herd immunity' strategy, despite warnings from experts like Dr Anthony Fauci.
Daily coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all on the rise in the US, with the 7-day rolling average number of cases hitting an all-time high on Wednesday and hospitalizations hitting their highest point since July
Election battleground state Wisconsin became the top hotspot for coronavirus cases earlier this month. Its hospitals and ICUs are on the verge of being overwhelmed and the state has opened a field hospital
New cases have risen by 16 percent in Arizona, 21 percent in Florida, 22 percent in Ohio, 23 percent in Wisconsin, 25 percent in Michigan and 33 percent in Pennsylvania over the past week, according to Axios.
North Carolina is the only battleground state where daily and weekly cases remain relatively stable. The 7-day rolling average number of new daily cases there is high, at 1,691, but not much higher than last week's 2081 a day.
Despite the state's increasing coronavirus cases, Trump held a Wednesday night rally in Goodyear, Arizona, where he told a dense crowd of voters: 'Biden and the Democrat socialists will delay the vaccine, prolong the pandemic, shutter your schools and shut down our country.'
'And your state is open right? Your state is nice and open.'
The President has a rally planned for Friday in Minnesota, where doctors at the famed Mayo Clinic, as well as the Mayor of Rochester, where the event is to be held, have warned attending the event may mean raising infection risks.
South Dakota has more new cases per capita each day than any other state in the nation with an average of 109 new infections per 100,000 people a day. Hospitalizations deaths there are increasing at similarly steep rates, but its fatality numbers remain low at around 10 a day on average
North Dakota is doing more COVID-19 testing than other state in the nation and has the second highest daily infection rate per capita. Average hospitalizations have reached a record high there as well
Neighboring South Dakota is currently seeing the highest number of daily cases for its population of any state in the US, with 109 out of every 100,000 people there testing positive a day, on average.
Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican has said she will not issue a mask mandate, nor restrict activity, while traveling to several Trump campaign events outside her home state yesterday.
North Dakota's case rates are not far behind, with 99 out of every 100,000 people there testing positive a day. It's doing more testing than any other state in the country which may partially explain its high case-rates, but its contact tracers are now facing a large, and growing backlog.
Governor Doug Burgum called for businesses to reduce their operating capacities amid surges this month, but has also resisted mandating masks or other social distancing measures.
Neither state ever fully shut down or adopted restrictions put into place in much of the country. Coupled with low rates of mask-wearing, this has likely allowed coronavirus to spread under the the radar before testing ramped up.
Earlier this month, Wisconsin became the top hot spot for coronaviru in the US, shattering its own record numbers of daily infections again and again.
It now has the third-highest 7-day rolling average number of cases a day, at 67 per 100,000 people.
'There is no way to sugarcoat it, we are facing an urgent crisis and there is an imminent risk to you and your family,' Governor Tony Evers said on Tuesday.
Yesterday, the state reported 3,815 new cases - modest compared to the highs it was hitting earlier in October.
But in the wake of the surge in coronavirus cases has come hospitalizations.
Wisconsin's hospitals are on track to reach capacity and state has opened a field hospital to hold the overflow of COVID-19 patients.
Nearly 1,900 people in the state have died, including 45 on Wednesday.
Public health experts there and across the country are holding their breath for daily fatalities to become the third shockwave of coronavirus's spread - following cases and hospitalizations.
As of yet, it hasn't crested, but daily deaths are on the rise and experts, including Dr Anthony Fauci, have warned that the death toll will inevitably rise as gatherings move indoors this winter.
Nebraska ranks among the top 10 states for case increases per capita, and its hospitalizations reached a record-high Wednseday
Alaska has low numbers of cases and deaths but is seeing among the steepest increases in daily infections in the nation