The Next COVID-19 Surge Is Here

The case count Friday was the highest since July.

Morry Gash/AP

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As colder weather sets in, experts are warning that the next coronavirus surge has arrived. On Friday, the United States recorded 69,000 new infections—the highest daily total since July 30. This latest peak is concentrated in rural communities in the upper Midwest and follows a spring surge in the Northeast and a summer surge in the South. Experts are now worried about a rising number of cases coinciding with flu season as families gather indoors during the holiday season and winter months.

“There’s a growing sense of coronavirus fatigue out there,” Dr. William Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, told CNBC. “People really want to get back to the old normal.” But ignoring public health guidelines could have dire consequences; some states are already feeling the impacts of the latest surge in cases.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers opened up a field hospital for coronavirus patients with more moderate symptoms to ease the crowding in intensive care units in the state’s hospitals. North Dakota’s case load has reached record highs and state officials are beginning to worry about hospital capacity. In Minnesota, where 18 cases were associated with a Donald Trump campaign event, coronavirus infections have also reached new highs.  

The latest surge comes just weeks before the election. The Trump administration remains wholly uncommitted to responding to the coronavirus, even as the president’s poll numbers sink, in part, due to his handling of the pandemic. Even as deaths top 217,000 and the third wave threatens to be worse than the first two, Trump continues to downplay the severity of the virus. “The light at the end of the tunnel is near,” he told a crowd of supporters in Florida on Friday. “We are rounding the turn.”

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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