The October surge of new COVID-19 cases appears to be heating up as businesses reopen and people gather at political rallies and other places.
The New York Times reports the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in the United States this past week topped 53,000, a 23 percent increase from the average 2 weeks ago.
That includes the 59,751 new cases reported on Wednesday.
In addition, 21 states have reached their highest 7-day averages for new cases since the pandemic began.
The Times states that the higher numbers are being driven by a surge in parts of the Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountain region.
In addition, Reuters reports an 11 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases this past week, with the Midwest recording rising caseloads as well as high positivity rates.
Reuters notes that Midwestern states recorded 22,000 new cases on Wednesday, breaking the record of 20,000 set last Friday.
On Tuesday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that small gatherings are becoming a major source of COVID-19 spread.
Overall, the United States now has nearly 8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations have surpassed 33,000, which is significantly below the 50,000-plus numbers posted in late July but an increase from the 25,000 reported 3 weeks ago and the 31,000 recorded just 2 days ago.
COVID-19 related deaths have now topped 217,000.
That includes 1,011 new deaths reported on Wednesday.
The overall total places the viral illness as the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, trailing behind only heart disease and cancer.
A new forecastTrusted Source from the CDC states that the number of deaths in the United States could surpass 230,000 by the end of October.
Another new estimate predicts the United States will exceed 390,000 deaths by February 1 based on current conditions.
A daily tracking graph from the New York Times shows 27 states where “new cases are higher and staying high.” That’s slightly more than last week.
There are no states listed where cases are high but declining.
The Times reports there are 18 states where new cases are lower but going up. That’s an increase from 15 states last week.
It also notes there are 5 states where cases are lower and staying low. There were 9 states in this category last week.
A weekly tracking graph by Reuters that was updated on Monday notes there are 29 states where new cases have risen for 2 weeks in a row. That’s up from 21 reported last week.
The news service reports there was an average of 976,000 people tested for COVID-19 per day last week. That broke the previous weekly record set last week.
The rate of positive test results nationwide rose from 4.6 percent to 5 percent, the level the World Health Organization considers “concerning.” The rate had reached a high of 9 percent in mid-July.
South Dakota, Idaho, Iowa, and Wisconsin all had rates above 20 percent.
The Reuters graph reports 41 states where new COVID-19 cases have increased the past week. That’s up from 33 the previous week.
In terms of percentage, Vermont showed the largest increase among states in new confirmed COVID-19 cases. It recorded 83 new positive tests this past week, a hike of 93 percent from the previous week.
Washington, D.C., recorded 465 new cases, a jump of 73 percent.
Tennessee was next with an increase of 64 percent to 13,507 new cases.
Right behind was Montana, which showed an increase of 61 percent with 4,067 new cases.
There are concerns about the continued increase of cases in the middle of the country.
Reuters noted that every Midwest state except for Missouri and Illinois showed increases.
South Dakota recorded 4,146 new cases, a hike of 44 percent. North Dakota was up 32 percent to 3,715 new cases.
North Dakota was one of six states that set a daily record for new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
Nebraska recorded 4,575 new cases this past week, an increase of 22 percent, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, state officials said Nebraska averaged 684 new cases per day the past 7 days, an increase over the 545 average for the previous week.
Minnesota reported 8,442 new cases this past week for an increase of 19 percent, according to Reuters.
Minnesota health officials say they have connected nearly two dozen cases to presidential campaign rallies held in the state this past month by President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Another confirmed case was linked to a rally by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
That report prompted the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, to express concerns about the president’s rally at the city’s airport on Wednesday.
In terms of sheer numbers, Texas and California are still leading the way in new COVID-19 cases, according to Reuters.
Texas reported 30,172 new positive tests, a decline of 11 percent from the previous week.
California was second with 22,727 new cases. That was an increase of almost 1 percent.
Wisconsin remained in third place with 18,387 new cases, a hike of 5 percent.
Florida was fourth with 18,032 new cases, a jump of 13 percent.
Illinois was fifth with 17,908 new positive tests, a rise of 29 percent.