Coronavirus cases are spiking to dangerous new levels in the U.S.

Coronavirus cases are spiking to dangerous new levels in the U.S.

CNBC’s Meg Tirrell reports on the record spike in new coronavirus cases across the country. Hospitalizations and deaths are rising as well, as some states in the Midwest are running out of room in hospitals. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

The average number of new daily cases of coronavirus in the United States is at a record — stressing local hospital systems and forcing new curfews and other restrictions in some parts of the country.

With fall holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving approaching, the U.S. has now established its third peak of daily new cases with no signs of letting up.

Over the past seven days, the country reported an average of about 68,767 new cases every day, the highest seven-day average recorded yet, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. The seven-day average is up more than 22% compared with a week ago, according to CNBC’s analysis.

“We are likely to see a very dense epidemic,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday. “I think we are right now at the cusp of what is going to be exponential spread in parts of the country.”

The U.S. is also testing more people than ever, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. However, more testing cannot account for the rise in cases, health officials say, because the percent of tests coming back positive has increased as well. About 6.2% of tests were positive on Sunday based on a seven-day average, according to Hopkins, up from 5.2% a week earlier.

The U.S. reported an all-time high single-day spike in cases on Friday, when the country reported 83,757 new cases, according to Hopkins data. Health officials have warned for months that cases would likely rise as parts of the country entered the fall and winter. That’s largely because people are spending more time indoors, where the virus can spread more easily. Epidemiologists also say the virus may be able to spread more easily in colder, drier air.

More than 20 states reported record-high numbers of average daily new cases, and cases are rising by 5% or more in 40 states, according to CNBC’s analysis. Many of the states with the fastest growing outbreaks are those in the Midwest and West, which did not report many cases of the virus earlier in the pandemic. Adjusted for population, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Montana and Idaho are reporting more average daily new cases than anywhere else in the country.

“We have one more cycle to get through with this. I know people are exhausted. It’s been very hard on families and on individuals, on businesses especially, but we really have two or three months of the acute phase of this pandemic to get through,” Gottlieb said Monday. “This is going to be the hardest phase probably.”

As daily new cases skyrocket, hospitalizations are rising, too. Deaths, which lag furthest behind those other indicators, are beginning to tick up as well. With advances in clinical care for Covid-19 patients and new treatments such as the antiviral remdesivir and steroids like dexamethasone, health officials say they are able to save more Covid patients than ever. But with deaths on the rise, it remains to be seen how substantially the death rate has dropped in the roughly 11 months since the virus emerged.

Hospital systems in some parts of the country are scrambling to shore up resources amid the new surge in infections and hospitalized patients. In Texas, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego issued a curfew on Sunday, saying that hospitals and health workers are now “overwhelmed and exhausted.” The Salt Lake Tribune reported over the weekend that the Utah Hospital Association is asking governor to authorize criteria for rationing care.

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