CLOSE

President Trump received mostly the same treatment as anyone would get for COVID-19, except for one experimental drug and the speed of his care.

USA TODAY

Wisconsin health officials plan to open a field hospital amid a surge in cases in the midwest, the latest region to become a COVID-19 hotspot.

The virus first spiked in travel hubs like New York City, took hold over the summer in sunny, tourism-prone areas like Florida and now is now widely spreading in the midwest, especially in areas noted for downplaying the virus’ risks. The midwest, however, isn’t alone: U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 7.5 million on Wednesday with most states seeing a rise in cases.

“What worries me is we haven’t learned our lessons,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. He cited data, compiled by the company Premise, showing mask usage is lower in Wisconsin and the Dakotas than the U.S. average of 50%.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump — who last week tested positive for the virus and was admitted to the hospital — has returned to the Oval Office, breaking quarantine despite recommendations from his doctors that he remain in the White House residence.

But he shows no signs of slowing down. Trump repudiated the Commission on Presidential Debates’ decision to move the second presidential debate to a virtual format, calling it a “joke.” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien proposed delaying the final two debates each one week under their same format.

Some significant developments:

📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has reported more than 7.5 million cases and more than 212,600 deaths. Eleven states set records for new cases over the just-ended seven-day period while three states had a record number of deaths. The world has seen over 36.3 million cases and 1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

📰 What we’re reading: As winter approaches, restaurants in locations with colder weather nationwide are envisioning new ways to keep outdoor dining open. That means you may end up dining in a heated tent, or better yet, an “igloo.”

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

COVID-19 cases surge in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota

A surge of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin and the Dakotas is forcing a scramble for hospital beds and raising political tensions, as the Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as one of the nation’s most troubling hot spots.

The three states now lead all others in new cases per capita, after months in which many politicians and residents rejected mask requirements while downplaying the risks of the disease that has now killed over 210,000 Americans.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Melissa Resch, a nurse at Wisconsin’s Aspirus Wausau Hospital, which is working to add beds and reassign staff to keep up with a rising caseload of virus patients, many gravely