U.S. faces record surge of coronavirus cases yet again

A health worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Borough Park area of Brooklyn, New York, U.S

A record surge of coronavirus cases in the United States is pushing hospitals to the brink of capacity and killing up to 1,000 people a day, the latest figures show, with much of the country’s attention focused on Tuesday’s presidential election. FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walks by a closed establishment in Flint, Michigan, U.S., October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting at least 91,248 new cases, as 17 states reported their highest daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally of publicly reported data. 

More than 1,000 people died of the virus on Thursday, marking the third time in October that milestone has been passed in a single day. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen over 50% in October to 46,000, the highest since mid-August. 

Among the hardest hit states are those most hotly contested in the campaign between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, such as Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

The surge has revived some of the worst images of the devastating first wave of the virus in March, April and May, with people on ventilators dying alone in hospital isolation and medical staff physically and mentally exhausted. 

“Our hospitals cannot keep up with Utah’s infection rate. You deserve to understand the dire situation we face,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on Twitter, echoing officials in other states and public health experts. 

Utah was among 14 states to report record increases in deaths this month and among 30 states to report record increases in cases. The United States has recorded over 229,000 deaths and nearly 9 million cases, both the highest single-country totals in the global pandemic.

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