The White House coronavirus task force is warning of a persistent and broad spread of Covid-19 in the western half of the United States and its members urged aggressive mitigation measures.
Dr Anthony Fauci, task force member and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said:
We are on a very difficult trajectory. We’re going in the wrong direction.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday night, Fauci noted that coronavirus cases are rising in 47 states and patients are overwhelming hospitals across the country.
If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s gonna be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalisations, and deaths.
The White House coronavirus task force has warned states in the middle and west of the country that aggressive mitigation measures will be necessary, according to weekly state reports obtained by CNN.
One state’s report said:
We continue to see unrelenting, broad community spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest and West. This will require aggressive mitigation to control both the silent, asymptomatic spread and symptomatic spread.
The task force reports said the cooler weather is a major factor in the increase as friends and families move gatherings indoors. It urged states to intensify efforts to encourage mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding crowds in public spaces.
US hospitalisations are soaring, a metric not affected by the amount of testing done. Thirteen states, mainly in the Midwest and West, reported a record number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients on Wednesday, according to a Reuters analysis.
Wisconsin, a hotly contested battleground in next week’s presidential election, is one of 36 states where coronavirus hospitalisations are rising by at least 10% compared with the previous week. Michigan, another election battleground state, logged a one-day record of over 3,500 new cases.
The president Donald Trump has been excoriated for his handling of the pandemic and his push to reopen the economy, sometimes against the advice of his own government health experts, while many of his supporters in Michigan and elsewhere protested lockdown and mitigation efforts.
Illinois reported over 6,000 new cases on Wednesday, the biggest increase of any state in the country and topping the 5,700 new cases in the much more populous state of Texas and 4,200 new cases in California, according to a Reuters tally of state and county reports.