Texas, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands stand alone in recorded cases of Covid-19 over the past two weeks, as the country supports a possible “third peak” of the disease.
Although the Lone Star State reported a “small drop” in cases over a 14-day period ending Saturday, its news was better than most: 38 states, Washington, DC and Guam all see increases in cases over the past 14 days, and nine states have fought, according to NBC News tallies. Rhode Island, which like Texas has also seen a net drop, is not reporting data over the weekend, and Missouri is not currently reporting data due to a technology issue.
In Vermont and New Mexico, cases have increased as both have been fighting around a 1
“We are really fighting,” Dr. Todd Vento, director of the Telehealth Infectious Disease Program for Utah-based Intermountain Health, NBC’s “TODAY” show. “People do heroic work, but they really get to the point where it will literally be unsustainable.”
On Saturday, thousands of people, many without masks, attended a Trump rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, as health officials urged residents not to gather with anyone outside their immediate family. The state, which does not release case counts over the weekend, saw a record 3,861 new cases on Friday, according to the state health department.
In North Dakota, as many as 4% of the state has contracted with Covid-19 since March, most of these cases coming within the last few weeks.
North and South Dakota lead the United States in weekly virus cases per. Population, according to an NBC News census, and ICUs are filling up all over the state. According to the latest data released by the North Dakota Department of Health, there are 16 ICU open beds in the state, only one in the capital Bismarck. The state, which does not have a mask mandate, only recommends that its residents cover their faces.
“You know, from my perspective, the mask mandate, it’s going to be difficult to enforce,” said Kirby Kruger, director of disease control in North Dakota. “I think there is a segment of the population that does not want to do this … it is not something they feel the government should force them to do.”
Gov. Doug Burgum has continued to emphasize individual responsibility as the state sees cases increase. “I think it’s important for the future of our state that we understand that there is something more powerful than an executive order – infinitely stronger than a mandate – and that is the faith that individuals hold in their hearts. He said in a press conference.
Burgum said he was “amazed” that people were still discussing the mask mandate because “there is no other way to get someone to wear a mask other than that person choosing to do so.”
Texas, where the disease is slightly declining, has seen more than 860,000 cases and nearly 17,500 deaths. While trends are somewhat positive, Government Greg Abbott deployed additional resources to the Panhandle and South Plains on Friday to support local hospitals there.
“As the Amarillo and Lubbock communities see an increase in COVID-19 admissions, the state of Texas is providing hospitals in these two regions,” Abbott said in a news release.
The almost nationwide increase in cases comes as epidemiologists warn of a possible “third peak” of Covid-19, this time largely centered in the Midwest and the plain.
“Between Thanksgiving and New Year, we have what I see as potentially six weeks of super-spreading events, right where we get together with family and friends,” says Dr. Carlos del Rio, an expert in infectious diseases. at Emory University School of Medicine, NBC News reported Friday. “And we can see a lot of diseases happening.”