As of Thursday (October 8), only two states—Alabama and Hawaii—are reporting a decrease in COVID-19 cases. Multiple states, however, are already reporting an increase in hospitalizations, leaving government officials to take action.
Wisconsin is now being labeled the latest "hot spot" after the state's number of cases umped by 50 percent in the last two weeks. When Wisconsin health officials reported a record-high number of 141 new hospitalizations on Wednesday (October 7), Governor Tony Evers announced the state will open a field hospital to manage the spiking cases."We obviously hoped this day wouldn't come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different and more dire place today, and our healthcare systems are being overwhelmed," Evers said.
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox of Utah took to Twitter on Wednesday, as well, to share that Utah is also seeing a sharp increase in hospitalizations. "Our hospitalization rates are surging and beginning to place a strain on our healthcare system (especially staffing)," Cox wrote. "Sadly, we are now seeing increased fatalities. The Wisconsin announcement should be a sobering reminder as Utah isn't far behind in infection rates."
Other states, including Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming, have all seen record-high hospitalization numbers in just the last few days, according to CNN. Overall, the United States' numbers are not looking good. The country is averaging more than 44,000 new cases per day for the first time since August, according to Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated cases will continue to climb—more cases means more community spread. The situation will likely continue to worsen as we enter flu season, as well.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, many are beginning to wonder if the U.S. is head for another lockdown. According to Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization executive director of Health Emergencies Programme, it's definitely possible if numbers keep spiking. "If people who were sick stayed at home, and were supported in doing that, and if their contacts stayed at home, and were supported in doing that, we could break the back of this disease," he said during a social media Q&A. "We keep avoiding that elephant in the room."
While Dr. Ryan agrees that lockdowns have consequences, he argued that "this is not a no-consequence effort, we need to find that balance ... between stopping this disease, giving us the time to develop the measures we need to save lives." Ultimately, some countries "face no choice" when it comes to lock down. If the numbers spiral too fast to be contained, it becomes the only option.