U.S. COVID cases surge this month
According to a database kept by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has now recorded 3.1 million new cases of COVID-19 in the month of November alone.
That is more than 25% of all the cases the country has seen since the pandemic began, and has led to a corresponding concerning jump in virus-related hospitalizations across the country. According to the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization dedicated to collecting and publishing COVID-19 data, more than 83,000 people across the country are currently battling the coronavirus in a hospital – the most the country has seen since the pandemic began.
The COVID Tracking Project reports that while the entire country is seeing a spike in hospitalizations, the Midwest and South have been hit particularly hard – 69% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations across the country have occurred in those two regions.
The COVID Tracking Project also reports that there has been a significant uptick in deaths since the start of November. Since Oct. 31, the 7-day average of daily deaths has increased from 810 to 1,470. The current rate of deaths per day hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since mid-May.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana is seeing a third wave of COVID-19 cases, and every hospital in the state is at risk of being overwhelmed unless people work to stop the spread.
This concerning spike occurs as the country sees the weather turn colder ahead of winter months and as Americans prepare to celebrate the holiday season – something health officials warn could further facilitate the spread of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that Americans not travel to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones and recommends against hosting large gatherings this year.
State officials are issuing the same warnings.
“If you were planning on a Thanksgiving that looks like previous thanksgivings where you bring your extended family and friends around a common dinner table, you are making a mistake,” said Governor John Bel Edwards in a press conference Thursday.
Interim Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Dr. Joseph Kanter emphasized why that may not be the best idea.
“Risk of transmission is higher when you bring people into your household pod, it’s higher when you’re indoors, it’s higher than larger you’re gathering sizes and a tire when you’re enjoying food or beverage because your mask is not on at that point in time,” explained Dr. Kanter.
Some worry that being separated from loved ones can affect mental health, but the governor stresses this third wave could be the last.
“If we will avoid crowds, if we will mask up, if we will socially distance, wash your hands, and stay home when we’re sick there is every reason to believe that today the next year when we have Thanksgiving we will have much more normalcy,” Edwards added.