The pandemic was spreading across the Kansas prairie on Thursday as the United States registered its 8 millionth case of Covid-19.
That milestone was reached just three weeks after the nation recorded 7 million confirmed coronavirus cases, and many of the new infections occurred in Midwestern states that weren’t hit as hard as the Northeast and West coasts in the early days. days of the Covid-19 crisis.
But after months of watching as the coronavirus spread south and then into the Sun Belt, new cases of Covid-19 in states like Kansas have gone from trickle to creek with 5,203 reported in just the past seven days, they showed. the latest figures from NBC News Thursday.
During the same time period, 1
“The numbers are getting worse,” Dr. Lee Norman, the top administrator at the state’s Department of Health, said Wednesday at a press conference at Statehouse.
Kansas is one of several states in the central part of the nation that have seen a dramatic increase in new coronavirus cases in recent times, one that public health experts attribute to a combination of cold weather and a growing reluctance to adhere to the intended restrictions. to stop the spread of the virus.
Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio all reported record numbers of new cases on Thursday.
“Whether we are in a second wave, or in the second crest of the first, our current situation is critical, especially outside well-supplied metropolitan areas,” Dave Dillon, spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association-Shipping, told the St Louis Post.
But compared to California and Texas, the states with the most cases, the numbers in Kansas are small.
The 69,155 confirmed cases that Kansas has recorded since the start of the pandemic are not much more than the 59,603 cases registered in the United States Wednesday. And since the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 8 million, Kansas’s share amounts to less than 1% of the total.
However, the death toll in Kansas last week represents about 14% of the total 838 deaths the state has recorded since the coronavirus crisis began.
In other coronavirus news:
- In another sign that the recovery of the US economy has stalled, initial weekly jobless claims rose to 898,000 last week, the Department of Labor reported. That disappointing figure was far above analysts’ expectations of 830,000.
- Herd immunity, which President Donald Trump has insisted as a way to stop the pandemic, is a “dangerous mistake unsupported by scientific evidence,” dozens of scientists around the world said in The Lancet, a leading journal. medical.
- Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris canceled her travel plans after two people involved in the campaign tested positive. Harris herself tested negative, as did presidential candidate Joe Biden.
- Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, one of the few Republican senators who dared to publicly criticize Trump, said in a private call with members that the president’s pandemic leadership was “not reasonable or responsible or just,” the Washington Examiner reported. .
- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo said trick-or-treating will be allowed but no big Halloween celebrations will be allowed. “If your group has more than 15 people, we will shut you down,” he said.
- The Atlanta Falcons closed their training facility after a staff tested positive. Other NFL teams such as the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans have had to close their operations in person for the same reason.
Increasingly, the pandemic is putting a strain on the parts of Kansas least prepared for the pandemic – the rural areas, Norman said. Half of the most recent cases have occurred in the most sparsely populated counties in the state.
Beth Oller, a family doctor in northwest Kansas, said the coronavirus is spreading there because people don’t wear masks and continue to attend weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and other events where they infections can proliferate.
When Governor Laura Kelly imposed a five-week stay order in the spring for people in her corner of Kansas, it was “like going to the basement for a tornado that never came,” Oller said.
“Even though those of us in public health were saying, ‘It’s coming! It’s coming! We can’t stop being diligent,’ you have that pandemic fatigue, ‘he said in an Associated Press report.’ It’s harder to maintain that diligence. ‘ .
Rural Kansas is also a deep red Trump country, and public health experts have said the mixed messages emerging from the White House have also undermined their attempts to get people to take proper safety precautions.
Sheriff Allan Weber in the Gove County countryside had Covid-19 and was recently discharged from the hospital. When the Associated Press met him last week, Weber was working at a local medical center and was still having trouble breathing.
But he wasn’t put off, not even when the pulse oximeter that sounds an alarm when oxygen levels get too low started ringing.
“He’ll stop here in a minute,” Weber said between coughing and wheezing.
There are other Midwestern states where lawmakers, mostly Republicans, have been reluctant to impose masks or toughen public health restrictions.
“I’m not on a mask term,” Steve Bakken, Republican mayor of Bismarck, North Dakota, told Chuck Todd on Thursday. “I think we have to rely on people to do the right thing in the right situations.”
Trump, who recently returned to the campaign trail after being hospitalized for Covid-19, has been criticized for refusing until recently to wear a mask at public events and accused of lying to the public about the danger of the pandemic. .
“What I do is out is an important thing,” Trump said Thursday in an interview with Fox Business Network. “And if you look at those people, they really wear masks.”
Trump’s misrepresentation was not contested by host Stuart Varney.
Later, at an election rally in North Carolina, Trump made his first extended remarks about youngest son Barron, who tested positive for coronavirus but never developed symptoms.
“Barron had it, he recovered so quickly,” Trump said. “I said wait a minute, how long did it take? They have the strongest immune systems, they’re better than all of us. That’s what they are.”
Most pandemic deaths have been elderly or infirm, but the average age of Covid-19 victims has been on a downward trend as students have returned to school. While it remains rare for children aged 18 and younger to die from the virus (121, according to the latest government data), they pose a danger to adults as potential carriers of the disease, public health experts said. .
Cornell University researchers have called Trump the world’s largest disseminator of coronavirus disinformation.
While Trump continues to insist that his administration has done “phenomenal” work, right now the United States accounts for more than a fifth of the 38.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide and more than 1 million deaths. according to Johns Hopkins University Covid-19. control panel.
The United States is still the world leader in both categories, but India may soon take the lead in the number of confirmed cases. It had 7.3 million as of Thursday, according to the dashboard.