Total Covid-19 cases
Ohio warns of tougher rules to come as Midwest battles outbreaks
Matthew Rocco in New York
Ohio governor Mike DeWine warned that the state may impose stricter measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, as new infections and hospitalisations continued to trend higher in the Midwest.
Mr DeWine, in an address on Wednesday evening, urged residents to stay home as much as possible and avoid hosting parties, saying current data trends could lead officials to close restaurants, bars and gyms.
“We will look at this one week from tomorrow,” Mr DeWine said.
The governor plans to tighten rules related to wearing masks by forming a compliance unit to oversee enforcement in retail outlets. A separate measure will require face coverings for patrons in restaurants when they are not eating.
Mr DeWine, who described the current outbreak as a third spike, warned of the strain on hospital resources. “This surge is much more intense, widespread and dangerous,” he said.
There were 5,874 new cases in Ohio, the state’s second-highest figure on record. Over the past week, Ohio has averaged a record 5,307 new cases per day.
Ohio also reported 76 further deaths attributed to the virus, bringing its overall count to 5,623 since the pandemic began.
States across the Midwest — which were largely spared early in the pandemic — and other US regions have faced a surge in new coronavirus cases in the autumn.
While part of the increase can be attributed to expanded testing capacity, hospitalisations and the rate of tests coming back positive have also trended upward.
Illinois added 12,657 new cases to its overall tally, edging past its previous record set on Tuesday, while hospitalisations climbed above 5,000 for the first time since April. The state also reported its highest one-day count for deaths with 153, for a total of 10,798.
“In our current situation, with a rising prevalence of the virus, attending even small gatherings that mix households, or traveling to areas that are experiencing high rates of positivity, is not advised and is potentially dangerous,” the Illinois health department said in its daily report.
In Wisconsin, where governor Tony Evers signed an order on Tuesday asking residents to stay home whenever possible, the number of new infections came in above 7,000 for the third time in five days. The state has 2,457 confirmed deaths attributed to coronavirus, an increase of 62 from a day earlier.
Italy’s coronavirus case count tops 1m
Miles Johnson in Rome
The total number of coronavirus infections in Italy has surpassed 1m diagnosed cases as the country registered 32,961 new infections over the past 24 hours.
The Italian health ministry said that 623 people had died from Covid-19 on Wednesday, while a total of 3,081 people are currently fighting the virus in intensive care, up by 110 from Tuesday.
The total number of diagnosed cases in Italy since the outbreak began now stands at 1,028,424 after the 32,961 increase on Wednesday.
Arizona, California hospital admissions for Covid-19 tick up
Arizona and California reported an increase in current hospital admissions for Covid-19, as the states grapple with an autumn resurgence of coronavirus.
There were 1,360 patients being treated for Covid-19 in Arizona as of Wednesday, the highest level since August, according to data from the state’s health department. Arizona has registered an average of 2,076 new infections each day over the past week, which is also the highest mark since August, and has tallied 265,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.
In California, the number of active hospital admissions rose to 3,224 from 3,083, with the metric sitting at levels last seen in September. At 6,382, California’s seven-day average of new cases is at its highest mark since August. Its cumulative number of cases has risen to more than 984,000.
Both states have faced a new rise in daily infections since bringing outbreaks under control over the summer, coinciding with the increased spread of coronavirus across other US regions in recent weeks. Part of the increase can be attributed to expanded testing capacity. The US has regularly processed more than 1m tests per day and set records of more than 1.5m early in November. However, hospital admissions and the rate of tests coming back positive have also trended upward.
California’s positivity rate over the past week was 4.3 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent one month ago.
The state reported 69 additional deaths attributed to Covid-19, compared with a seven-day average of 45. That brought its total to 18,070. Arizona, which added 36 new fatalities for an overall tally of 6,228, has averaged 24 deaths per day in the last week.
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