As cold weather arrives, U.S. states see record increases in COVID-19 cases

By Lisa Shumaker

(Reuters) – Nine U.S. states have reported record increases in COVID-19 cases over the last seven days, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where chilly weather is forcing more activities indoors.

On Saturday alone, four states – Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin – saw record increases in new cases and nationally nearly 49,000 new infections were reported, the highest for a Saturday in seven weeks, according to a Reuters analysis. Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new records for cases last week.

Daytime highs in many of these states are now in the 50s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside could promote the spread of the virus.

Montana has reported record numbers of new cases for three out of the last four days and also has a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals.

Wisconsin has set records for new cases two out of the last three days and also reported record hospitalizations on Saturday. On average 22% of tests are coming back positive, one of the highest rates in the country. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/33rkCcw)

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor mandated masks on Aug. 1 but Republican lawmakers are backing a lawsuit challenging the requirement.

North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin have the highest new cases per capita in the country. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/33rIFI5)

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is one of several prominent Republicans who have tested positive for coronavirus since President Donald Trump announced he had contracted the virus.

Because of the surge in cases in the Midwest, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities operated by Aspirus in northern Wisconsin and Michigan are barring most visitors as they did earlier this year.

Bellin Health, which runs a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said last week its emergency department has been past capacity at times and doctors had to place patients in beds in the hallways.

The United States is reporting 42,600 new cases and 700 deaths on average each day, compared with 35,000 cases and 800 deaths in mid-September. Deaths are a lagging indicator and tend to rise several weeks after cases increase.

Kentucky is the first Southern state to report a record increase in cases in several weeks. Governor Andy Beshear said last week was the highest number of cases the state has seen since the pandemic started.

State health experts have not pinpointed the reason for the rise but point to fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students returning to schools and colleges. Over the last two weeks, Kentucky has reported nearly 11,000 new cases and has seen hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients rise by 20%.

(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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As Cold Weather Arrives, U.S. States See Record Increases in COVID-19 Cases | Top News

(Reuters) – Nine U.S. states have reported record increases in COVID-19 cases over the last seven days, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where chilly weather is forcing more activities indoors.

On Saturday alone, four states – Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin – saw record increases in new cases and nationally nearly 49,000 new infections were reported, the highest for a Saturday in seven weeks, according to a Reuters analysis. Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new records for cases last week.

Daytime highs in many of these states are now in the 50s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside could promote the spread of the virus.

Montana has reported record numbers of new cases for three out of the last four days and also has a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals.

Wisconsin has set records for new cases two out of the last three days and also reported record hospitalizations on Saturday. On average 22% of tests are coming back positive, one of the highest rates in the country. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/33rkCcw)

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor mandated masks on Aug. 1 but Republican lawmakers are backing a lawsuit challenging the requirement.

North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin have the highest new cases per capita in the country. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/33rIFI5)

(GRAPHIC: U.S. states with the biggest COVID-19 outbreaks – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/USA-OUTBREAK/ygdvzkgknpw/chart.png)

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is one of several prominent Republicans who have tested positive for coronavirus since President Donald Trump announced he had contracted the virus.

Because of the surge in cases in the Midwest, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities operated by Aspirus in northern Wisconsin and Michigan are barring most visitors as they did earlier this year.

Bellin Health, which runs a hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said last week its emergency department has been past capacity at times and doctors had to place patients in beds in the hallways.

The United States is reporting 42,600 new cases and 700 deaths on average each day, compared with 35,000 cases and 800 deaths in mid-September. Deaths are a lagging indicator and tend to rise several weeks after cases increase.

Kentucky is the first Southern state to report a record increase in cases in several weeks. Governor Andy Beshear said last week was the highest number of cases the state has seen since the pandemic started.

State health experts have not pinpointed the reason for the rise but point to fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students returning to schools and colleges. Over the last two weeks, Kentucky has reported nearly 11,000 new cases and has seen hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients rise by 20%.

(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Trump arrives at Walter Reed hospital after Covid-19 diagnosis

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, who has Covid-19, arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday afternoon after being flown in his helicopter as a precautionary measure and will remain there for several days, the White House said.

The move was recommended by the president’s physician, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. He will work from the presidential offices there, she said.

He left the White House shortly after 6:15 p.m. ET and arrived at the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, minutes later after the short helicopter flight on Marine One.

Earlier, administration officials said Trump was experiencing “mild symptoms” after he announced early Friday that he tested positive for the disease.

But Trump, who regularly posts on Twitter, was silent on the social media platform after announcing his infection and ceded the only event on his official public schedule to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump, who is 74 and clinically overweight, is at a higher risk of complications from the virus, due to his age and weight, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of a severe illness increases with age and other factors, and other medical conditions can also increase risk, including obesity, according to the agency.

Trump’s weighs about 240 pounds and is about 6 feet, 3 inches tall, according to past health assessments made public in June. His physician has said he is overall healthy.

Pence, who tested negative for the disease on Friday, remained at the vice presidential residence at the Naval Observatory, according to a senior administration official.

Presidential power has not been transferred to the vice president, White House communications director Alyssa Farah told NBC News.

“The president is in charge,” she said.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news about the president’s health

Marine One landed on the White House South Lawn shortly before 5:30 p.m. ET. A small group of senior White House staff gathered outside for the departure. Trump, wearing a suit and a face mask, was seen walking to the helicopter. Trump waved to reporters before boarding. Moments later, he was seen disembarking from the helicopter on the Walter Reed grounds. He was accompanied by his chief of staff Mark Meadows and was not accompanied by the first lady.

In an 18-second taped video posted to Twitter moments after he touched down near the hospital, Trump said, “I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out.”

Three people familiar with his condition said earlier Friday Trump has a low-grade fever. The president’s doctor said he was administered an antibody cocktail, along with vitamins, and is fatigued, while Melania Trump has a mild cough and headache.

The experimental drug provided to the president is a combination of two so-called monoclonal antibodies and is meant to provide the body’s immune system with a temporary, but immediate, boost to fight off the coronavirus.

Regeneron, which makes the drug, confirmed to NBC News that it provided it to