The alarming trends anticipate a season that is likely to be particularly busy. Students across the country are back in class, and college students – some of whom live on campuses that have reported outbreaks of Covid-19 – will soon be returning to visit their families and may unknowingly bring the virus back with them. And Covid-19 will also be stacked against flu season and could create what doctors call a “demic twin”.
What happens next is unclear. But here’s how we got here:
The cases have been clustered mainly in New York, with other minor outbreaks in places like Washington state, Louisiana, and Illinois. During that time, New York state had more infections than any other country in the world, with over 160,000 cases. As of October 16, the state has reported more than 481,000 infections.
By June 9th the United States had flattened the curve and averaged about 20,340 new cases per day, the Johns Hopkins data showed. States were reopening after weeks of lockdowns put in place to help curb the spread of the virus.
As measures eased, more Americans began venturing out and images and videos of parties and other gatherings emerged with no social distances and few masks in sight.
By July 22nd, the nation has reached the highest peak of the pandemic to date, averaging over 67,000 cases per day. The United States was seeing huge spikes in cases in the West and South.
The spate of cases came weeks after crowds celebrated the 4th of July holiday. Across the country, local officials have warned that more young people test positive and help drive the rise in infections.
Arizona, Florida, California, Texas, and Georgia added thousands of cases per day. Experts called Florida the epicenter of the pandemic and, by the end of the month, more than four dozen hospitals across the state reported intensive care.
By 12 September the summer peak had dropped to just over 34,300 averages new cases every day, according to Johns Hopkins data. That baseline was higher than it was in the spring, and experts warned Americans should work to lower it as the nation headed into the colder months of fall and winter.
Now hotspots were increasing in the rural Midwest, as children from many US communities were returning to school, sports were starting up again, and political demonstrations increased. Just 10 days later, the country passed 200,000 dead.
Now, we are seeing another increase in cases. The United States has just passed eight million infections and more than 218,000 Americans have died.
The nation averages more than 53,000 new cases per day, and at least 26 states have reported more than 1,000 new infections in one day this week.
Unlike in previous times, states that are reporting alarming trends are scattered across regions of the United States. The flurry of new cases in the Midwest hasn’t subsided and now places like the Northeast, which has been relatively stable since the spring, are seeing an increase in cases.