The spread of COVID-19 appears to be headed up again as fall 2020 gets under way.
The New York Times reports that there was an average of more than 43,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases per day during the past week. That’s a 13 percent increase from the average 2 weeks ago.
The Times notes that the steepest increases are coming from states in the Great Plains and the South.
Reuters reports that there were 316,000 new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended September 27. That was an increase of 10 percent from the previous week and the highest tally in 6 weeks.
One of the big concerns is colleges. A study released last week reports that the resumption of classes at colleges and universities produced an average of 3,000 additional COVID-19 cases per day in the United States between mid-July and mid-September.
Overall, the United States now has more than 7.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations stand at about 27,000, which is significantly below the 50,000-plus numbers posted in late July but an increase from the 25,000 reported early last week.
COVID-19 related deaths have now topped 206,000.
That number 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 daily tracking graph from the New York Times shows 22 states where “new cases are higher and staying high.” That’s up from 18 states last week.
It lists one state, Alabama, where cases are high but declining.
It reports that there are 6 states where new cases are lower but going up.
It also notes there are 21 states where cases are lower and staying low.
A weekly tracking graph by Reuters that was updated on Monday listed 32 states where COVID-19 case numbers ticked upward the previous week.
The news service reports there was an average of 880,000 people tested for COVID-19 per day the previous week. That broke the previous weekly record set in July.
The rate of positive test results held steady at 5 percent this past week, the seventh straight week of decline. It reached a high of 9 percent in mid-July.
However, 28 states had rates above 5 percent, the level the World Health Organization considers “concerning.”
South Dakota had the highest positivity rate at 26 percent. Idaho was next at 21 percent with Wisconsin at 19 percent.
Dr. Anthony FauciTrusted Source, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday that the United States is “not in a good place” with new cases back over 40,000 per week.
In terms of percentage, North Carolina showed the largest increase among states in new confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Reuters graph.
North Carolina reported 13,799 new positive tests this past week, a hike of nearly 60 percent from the previous week.
Texas was second with 49,559 new cases this past week, also an increase of nearly 60 percent.
There are concerns about the continued increase of cases in some Midwestern states. South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Nebraska all reported increases.
South Dakota’s increase was registered at 38 percent with 2,845 new cases this past week.
Some of the spike has been linked to a large annual motorcycle rally held in Sturgis in mid-August.
State officials have said there were nearly 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 11 states tied to that rally. That includes the death of a man in his 60s who was among the 400,000 people who attended the event.
South Dakota set a record of 579 new cases on Saturday. Hospitalizations have also tripled in the state since the motorcycle rally.
Maine’s new cases decreased by 3 percent to 209 new cases after several weeks of increases, according to Reuters.
However, Maine reported 59 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the largest one-day increase since May.
Part of the recent spike is due to a wedding reception held on August 7 in the small town of Millinocket.
Officials report at least 270 cases linked to the event. There are also eight deaths connected to the wedding. None of the people who died actually attended the wedding.
In terms of sheer numbers, Texas, California, and Florida are still leading the way in new COVID-19 cases.
Texas’ 49,556 cases topped Reuters’ list.
California was second with 23,551 new cases. That was a decrease of 6 percent from the previous week.
Florida was third with 16,810 new cases, a decrease of 15 percent. However, state officials reported that cases had surged from 738 on Monday to 3,266 cases on Tuesday, four days after statewide restrictions on businesses were lifted.
Wisconsin is now fourth with 15,186 new cases, an increase of 20 percent, according to Reuters.
Illinois was fifth with 13,963 new positive tests, an increase of 8 percent.
North Carolina was sixth with its 13,799 new cases, with Missouri close behind with 13,762 new cases, a hike of 34 percent.