While the US focused on the presidential election last week, there were an average of more than 115,000 new coronavirus cases per day.
According to the New York Times Coronavirus Tracker, there have been an average of 116,448 new coronavirus cases per day for the past seven days, up 64% from the average two weeks earlier. additionallyMore than 10.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the United States since early March, and at least 238,700 have died.
MarketWatch also reported that hospitals in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa are running out of space, and health professionals fear that state health systems will be overwhelmed by the end of the year and beginning of 2021.
"This is what exponential math looks like," Malia Jones, a social epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin, told MarketWatch. “Everything seems fine until all of a sudden it gets completely out of control. We have seen the slow build up for a month, and we have also seen little or no action to apply the brakes. Unfortunately, this is a predictable result.
"And we will continue to publish record numbers of cases every day, unless something changes," added Jones.
The Wisconsin Health Department announced Monday afternoon that hospitals are currently 88% busy. There will be a surge in new admissions in the coming days as cases continue to increase. Rural states that largely avoided the first wave of coronavirus are now feeling the brunt of a second, tougher wave that coincides with the change in weather as the US kicks off into winter.
In El Paso, Texas, health officials have brought 10 morgue trucks to help correct the surge in coronavirus cases, while companies in the county have announced they will not close. In Ohio, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the new chief medical officer for the state's Department of Health, said every county in the state is seeing increases in certain cases.
"Every county in the state is feeling the brunt of increasing COVID-19 hospital stays," Vanderhoff told CNN. "If we do not control the spread of the virus and our case numbers, we cannot continue to care for the acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent, measures."
Rural states are particularly at risk because they tend to have fewer hospitals with less space, are further away than hospitals in metropolitan areas, and residents tend to have poorer or less health insurance.
A vaccine for the most vulnerable Americans should be widely available by the end of the year, according to Alex Azar, U.S. Secretary of Health. According to CNN, Azar's comments came a day after Pfizer announced that the coronavirus vaccine, which is still in testing, appears to be more than 90% effective. Azar added that Moderna also produces its vaccine candidate.
“We expected that by the end of December we would have enough vaccines to vaccinate our most vulnerable citizens and nursing homes and others. and enough for all health workers and first responders by the end of January; and enough for all Americans from late March to early April to have general vaccination programs, "Azar told The Today Show, according to CNN.
However, getting the vaccine out can also prove difficult as Dr. John Burkhardt, Pfizer's vice president of global research and development in drug safety, said the shot must be stored at extremely low temperatures, well below the capacity of standard freezers.