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Oct. 10 (UPI) — For the third-straight day, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the United States topped 50,000, a level not seen since August, U.S. officials said Saturday.
Data the Johns Hopkins University global tracker showed there were 57,420 new cases and 990 deaths Friday in the United States. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has had 7.7 million confirmed cases and at least 214,000 deaths.
An updated model released Friday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, projects 394,693 deaths in the United States by Feb. 1. The model predicts that U.S. daily deaths will peak at 2,300 in mid-January with 116,000 hospital beds needed by Jan. 22. Daily U.S. deaths are around 1,000 this month.
Expanding the use of masks from the United States’ current rate of 69% to about 95% — the rate in Singapore — would save 79,000 lives between now and Feb. 1, the study predicted.
The virus is increasing in 24 states listed in the “red zone,” according to White House Coronavirus Task Force documents published Sunday and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana and Utah top the list of outbreaks.
In North Dakota, the state health department reported 4,169 active positive cases Saturday with a 14-day rolling positivity rate of 7.24%. The state health department reported that 11.3 % of staffed hospital beds were available for future patients.
In South Dakota, where Gov. Kristi Noem has resisted ordering statewide lockdowns and mask mandates, the state health department reported there were 732 new cases Friday, with the state’s positivity rate at 12.1% and an average of five deaths per day. The number of average daily positive cases in South Dakota has increased by almost 50% over the past week, The New York Times reported Saturday.
In Wisconsin, the state said 2,354 positive tests were reported Friday, with a positive testing rate of 17.6%. Eighteen deaths were recorded Friday from COVID-19.
Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order Tuesday mandating that public indoor gatherings not exceed occupancy rates of 25%.
“Wisconsin is now a COVID-19 hotspot,” Evers said in a statement. “Wisconsin must use all its tools, including keeping people physically apart and wearing face coverings, to slow this dangerous spike. The consequences of failing to act could be devastating and deadly.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern speaks to members of the White House press corps about the status of President Donald Trump’s health as he recovers from coronavirus outside of the West Wing of the White House on Wednesday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo