'Hunker down': The fall Covid-19 surge is here

More than half of US states are seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases, with five states reporting a jump of more than 50% in one week. CNN's Erica Hill reports.

Posted: Oct 13, 2020 1:51 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2020 1:51 PM

As predicted, the US is now grappling with a new Covid-19 surge -- one that could overwhelm hospitals, kill thousands of Americans a day by January and leave even young survivors with long-term complications.

"We went down to the lowest point lately in early September, around 30,000-35,000 new cases a day. Now we're back up to (about) 50,000 new cases a day. And it's going to continue to rise," Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said Tuesday.

"This is the fall/winter surge that everyone was worried about. And now it's happening. And it's happening especially in the northern Midwest, and the Northern states are getting hit very hard -- Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas. But it's going to be nationally soon enough."

Across the country, more than 30 states have reported more Covid-19 cases this past week than they reported the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In Denver, recent case counts are as "high right now as they were at the height of the pandemic back in May," Mayor Michael Hancock said Monday.

He said hospitalizations have also soared, and residents could face tighter Covid-19 restrictions if the numbers keep going up.

In Wisconsin, a field hospital is opening this week to handle a rapid rise in coronavirus patients. The state recently reported record-high numbers of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and daily deaths.

If Americans don't turn the tide around, the US could be in for a devastating winter. The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects more than 135,000 people in the US could die within the next three months.

"This winter -- this November, December, January, February -- could be the worst time in our epidemic," Hotez said. "Get ready to hunker down."

How overwhelmed hospitals can affect all patients

As we've seen throughout this pandemic, surges in new Covid-19 cases may lead to increased hospitalizations in the following weeks.

At least 10 states have reported record-high Covid-19 hospitalizations since Friday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

"Hospitals could again become overwhelmed," emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said. "And then we're not just talking about patients with coronavirus who might be in trouble. It's also about other patients who might be coming in for heart attacks and strokes and car accidents who may find a situation that's really untenable."

And some healthcare workers in the US still don't have adequate personal protective equipment and testing supplies, emergency medicine physician Dr. Megan Ranney said.

"We're quite fearful for what we are heading into," she said.

13% increase in child Covid-19 cases in 2 weeks

More children are also being diagnosed with Covid-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Their latest report found a 13% increase in child cases reported from September 24 to October 8 -- with more than 77,000 new reported infections.

The report looked at data from health departments in 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Children represented about 10.7% of Covid-19 cases in the states that reported cases by age, the report said.

The news comes as many schools have returned to in-person instruction and are navigating challenges that come with new infections.

There's no "one size fits all" strategy to safely returning to classrooms, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The decisions should be based on how widespread infections are in the community and how much surveillance is required, Fauci said.

"When schools are prepared, when they have a plan, when everyone is universally wearing masks, when they're testing people in a surveillance way to get people who are infected out of the system, (and) they know what to do when they're confronted with a person a child or older students who gets infected -- it can work," he said.

A vaccine trial is paused, but that's 'completely expected.

As Americans wait for a safe and effective vaccine, Johnson & Johnson has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental vaccine due to an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers, the company announced Monday.

The drugmaker said Tuesday that it didn't know immediately know whether the ill volunteer had received the vaccine candidate or a placebo, and that it had little information about the illness itself.

Johnson & Johnson said that it learned of the illness Sunday and immediately informed the study's independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), which is reviewing the illness.

"It's not at all unusual for unexpected illnesses to occur in large studies over their duration," and sometimes they have nothing to do with the drug candidate, Mathai Mammen, global head of research at Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical division Janssen, said Tuesday during the company's third-quarter earnings call.

As of Tuesday morning, the study was still blinded, meaning neither those directly administering the drugs or placebos, nor the volunteers, know which volunteers are receiving which elements of the study, Mammen said. The DSMB can "unblind" the study to investigate the illness if necessary, he said.

This kind of pause isn't immediately concerning, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

"This is completely expected, and it's just a reminder how ridiculous it is to try and meet a political timeline of having a vaccine before November 3," Jha said, referring to President Donald Trump's wishes to have a vaccine ready for the public by Election Day.

"The Johnson & Johnson trial is the biggest trial of the vaccine that I know of -- 60,000 people," Jha said. "Within that trial, you'd expect a few pauses."

This is the second Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial to hit the pause button in the US. AstraZeneca's vaccine trial was paused last month because of a neurological complication in a volunteer. While that trial has resumed in other parts of the world, it remains paused in the US while health officials investigate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 587405

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson853851591
Mobile48932864
Madison37517533
Shelby27280257
Tuscaloosa27171465
Montgomery26172627
Baldwin25399329
Lee17224181
Calhoun15401334
Morgan15170291
Etowah14954370
Marshall13116235
Houston12077293
Elmore10915219
St. Clair10763252
Limestone10725158
Cullman10546205
Lauderdale10255254
DeKalb9508192
Talladega8949188
Walker7793288
Autauga7563114
Jackson7400117
Blount7362139
Colbert6703142
Coffee6365132
Dale5650117
Russell480243
Chilton4771117
Covington4749125
Franklin458181
Tallapoosa4519156
Escambia441383
Chambers3949125
Dallas3743163
Clarke371263
Marion3463107
Pike332579
Lawrence3263100
Winston298773
Bibb290465
Geneva283983
Marengo262467
Barbour250961
Pickens245562
Butler240872
Hale235578
Fayette227065
Henry213945
Monroe202141
Randolph201144
Cherokee199248
Washington185239
Macon170552
Crenshaw168358
Clay166259
Cleburne161345
Lamar151038
Lowndes145455
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh121332
Coosa118329
Perry110528
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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The heat wave that controlled our area over the past several days is now behind us. The forecast for the next week looks a bit cooler & less humid.
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