The United States surpassed the grim milestone of 10 million Covid-19 cases on Monday, with infections setting daily records amid approaching winter, even as President-elect Joe Biden, in his victory speech, assured Americans that his first task would be to get the raging pandemic under control with a definite plan “built on bedrock science”. The US accounts for about a fifth of the 50 million novel coronavirus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
US sees daily average cases touch 100,000 for first time
The magnitude of the crisis can be gauged from the fact that October and the seven days of November account for 27 per cent or 26,93,333 of the total cases recorded in the US. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases in the United States crossed 100,000 for the first time. The US reported an average of 1,08,736 cases daily in the first week of November, according to JHU data. Only a fortnight ago, the US was averaging 50,000 new cases daily.
Over the past week ending Sunday (November 8), the US reported a total of 7,61,157 new cases, an increase of more than 50 per cent over the last week of October, when 4,95,000 cases were detected. About one in 441 Americans have tested positive for the virus just in the last week.
Covid-19 now 3rd leading cause of death in US
Compounding matters for the country is that Covid-19 deaths are slowly increasing again and hospitalisations have nearly doubled since mid-September. The seven-day rolling average for daily deaths has risen from 772 on October 23 to 940 for the week ending November 8.
The US has recorded 237,584 deaths so far, having a mortality rate of 2.4 per cent, according to JHU data. From a high of 6.7 per cent in April, the death rate had fallen to a low of 1.9 per cent in September. Covid-19 has already become the United States’ third-leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Which US states are powering Covid-19 cases surge?
According to the Covid Tracking Project, which tracks hospitalisations in real time, 22 states have reported at least one day of record high coronavirus hospitalisations in November so far. Alarming rise in numbers was seen in Texas, which has hit a record number of infections this week, becoming the first US state to cross over a million coronavirus cases. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has already issued a mask mandate over the summer. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram
In Illinois, faced with more than 64,000 new cases in a week, Governor JB Pritzker warned of a stay-at-home order if the spread was not slowed. In Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo has imposed a stay-at-home order from 10 pm to 5 am on weeknights. In Pennsylvania too, surge in cases eclipsed any other period in the pandemic while Wisconsin has seen hospitalisations rise by nearly 500 per cent in the past two months. Oregon has also surpassed 50,000 cases this week.
How has Joe Biden planned to tackle the pandemic?
Set to take over one of the most complicated and challenging national crises come January 20 (Inauguration day), Democrat Joe Biden has promised more aggressive steps to contain the virus. However, the former vice-president has maintained that he wanted to “shut down the virus, not the country”.
“I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment, to turn around this pandemic,” Biden said while delivering his victory speech and announced that he would appoint a 12-member coronavirus task force. Indian-American physician Dr Vivek Murthy is expected to co-chair the coronavirus task force, Bloomberg reported.
Biden’s transition website has also posted his plans to fight Covid-19. Among his initial plans are doubling the number of testing sites, investing in rapid at-home tests, creating a nationwide pandemic dashboard and mobilising 100,000 Americans for contact tracing. His plan also calls for all governors to issue a mask mandate.
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