U.S. battles fall coronavirus surge as states see record new cases

The fall coronavirus surge has arrived. Seventeen states across the U.S. are now seeing surges unlike anything they’ve experienced in this pandemic, and no state in the country is seeing a sustained decline.

The country is closing in on 8 million total cases of COVID-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The number of new infections in the U.S. hit nearly 60,000 on Wednesday, which is a single-day high not seen since the summer.

Hotspots are flaring across the Midwest, with smaller, rural hospitals fighting to hold on.

“It’s not a joke when we say we swim in COVID,” said Dr. Scott Samlan, an emergency room doctor in Hammond, Indiana, a state that hit a record number for cases on Thursday.

“What have these last five, six months taught you that have left you to be better prepared for the situation right now?” CBS News asked.

“It’s scary,” Samlan replied. “I think the scary part for a lot of us is that we don’t know how any individual is going to handle COVID.”

On Thursday, at least eight states reported their highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic. Numbers continue to rise in New Jersey, where the positivity rate would put the state on its own quarantine list, and Florida’s single day death toll doubled overnight.

One factor that may help is a person’s blood type. Two studies this week suggest people with Type O blood may be less vulnerable to COVID-19, but not certain coronavirus treatments. A new study from the World Health Organization found that treatments like remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine did not improve COVID-19 survival.

Anne Yurek, of Lancaster, Wisconsin, said people just don’t take the virus seriously. “My uncle, my brother, my sister and then my dad died,” said Yurek. “I couldn’t even go to my dad’s funeral. We don’t get to say goodbye.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday pushed back against the White House’s idea that herd immunity – letting the virus spread uncontrolled while protecting the most vulnerable – could be the country’s way out of the pandemic. Fauci called the idea “total nonsense.”

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