9 U.S. States Reported Record-High Increase in Coronavirus Cases Last Week

The U.S. is averaging 43,586 new COVID-19 infections a day over the last week

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Photo: Martin Schwartz/People

After two and a half months of steadily decreasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases, infections continue to trend upwards in the U.S.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been over 7,453,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and at least 209,600 people have died, according to The New York Times' database. Although still lower than its July peek, over the past week there has been a nationwide average of 43,586, a 6 percent increase from two weeks earlier. During July, the country-wide average was over 60,000 every day.

About two-thirds of all states have reported an increase in cases over the past week, according to the Washington Post.

Throughout much of the midwest — which saw a massive surge over the summer — cases remain high, and are increasing daily. Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin are all reporting consistently high rates of new infections.

A number of neighboring states to the south — Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas — are also experiencing high and rising numbers, as are several western states: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Since late August, the rate of new cases in Utah has dramatically increased, and the state has repeatedly broken their own records for daily infections, most recently on Sept. 25, according to the the Salt Lake Tribune, which went on to note that within the past three weeks, about 1 out of every 159 residents has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

While the spike in coronavirus cases was initially linked to young people between the ages of 15-24, throughout the beginning of October, the state has also experienced rising numbers among middle-aged and elderly residents, the outlet reported.

The "alarming increase" in Wisconsin cases has also been linked to a younger demographic.

With the start of the school year and campuses reopening in the last several weeks, Wisconsin is now experiencing unprecedented near exponential growth of the number of COVID-19 cases in the state,” Gov. Tony Evers said during a media briefing last month, noting that the state had actually seen a reduction in cases in August before this surge.

Four states — Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin — saw record increases in new cases on Saturday, according to Reuters. Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new records last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also reached the White House, with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump testing positive on Thursday. Since then, the list of staffers sickened by the virus has continued to increase, with new positive test results being reported daily.

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Surges are also being reported in states where the number of cases has remained low for recent months.

In New York, last week new cases topped 1,000 for the first time since June, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an increase in positive test results, primarily in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

Over the weekend, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio also proposed a shutdown of non-essential businesses and schools in nine zip codes within those two boroughs, which pending state approval could start as early as Wednesday.

“In some parts of our city in Brooklyn and Queens, we’re having an extraordinary problem. Something we haven’t seen since the spring,” he said during a press conference on Sunday, noting that those nine areas have reported a COVID-19 positivity rate of over three percent for at least seven consecutive weeks

The following day, Cuomo announced that schools in those zip codes would close on Tuesday, and that the state would be taking over enforcement responsibilities there.

The rise in cases has also led health experts to issue warnings about the possibility of a surge in the coming months — especially as flu season starts.

“My feeling is that there is a wave coming, and it’s not so much whether it’s coming but how big is it going to be,” Eili Klein, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, previously told The Washington Post.

A recent model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine showed that the country is at risk of possibly seeing at least 415,000 deaths from COVID-19 by January.

"The worst is yet to come," said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray, warning that the U.S. is “facing the prospect of a deadly December.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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