“We easily will hit six-figure numbers in terms of the number of cases,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN Friday night. “And the deaths are going to go up precipitously in the next three to four weeks, following usually new cases by about two to three weeks.”
This comes as the country’s seven-day average of new daily cases surpassed 63,000 Friday — an 84% increase since the average started ticking back up in mid-September, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Health officials say the steep inclines follow the reopening of schools and colleges across the US and have been largely driven by small gatherings — often family events — that are increasingly moving indoors, where the virus is likely to spread.
And that’s ahead of several popular holidays, when health officials worry more Americans could let their guard down and opt to visit family and friends and further drive surges.
“It would be really great to be sharing with all of you at Thanksgiving that our numbers are going down as we head into the holiday period,” he said Friday. “That we’ve got increasing amounts of hospital capacity. That our schools have remained open, that our businesses are open during that holiday season.”
34 states report rise in cases
At least 34 states reported more new Covid-19 cases in the last week than the week prior, according to Johns Hopkins data. In Georgia, health officials reported their highest one-day case count Friday since early September. Ohio health officials reported a record-high of daily new cases for the third day in a row, and in Oklahoma, officials reported more than 1,000 new infections for the fourth consecutive day.
Illinois public health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike made an emotional appeal to residents on the importance of face coverings.
“As we see the numbers go up in the hospitals, people are bringing more beds, trying to prepare for the Covid units again. And these staff that went through all that pain to try to save as many…