sunny.png
Monday October 18th, 2021 9:07AM

Fear and anxiety spike in virus hot spots across US

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Preslie Paur breaks down in tears when she thinks of her state’s refusal to mandate face masks.

The South Salt Lake City, Utah, woman can’t work at her special education job due to an autoimmune disease. Her husband, also a special ed teacher, recently quit because his school district would not allow him to work remotely to protect her and their 5-year-old son, who has asthma.

“I feel forgotten,” Paur said. “We’re living in a world we no longer fit in. We did everything right. We went to college, we got jobs, we tried to give back to our community, and now our community is not giving back to us. And I’m very scared.”

As President Donald Trump barnstorms the swing states, often downplaying the coronavirus pandemic before largely unmasked crowds, the nation continues to lurch toward what his opponent Joe Biden, citing health experts, warned will be a “dark winter” of disease and death.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN on Sunday that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” Asked why, he said it’s “because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

Vice President Mike Pence will continue campaigning despite his chief of staff testing positive for COVID-19. His office said Pence and his wife both tested negative for the virus Sunday.

About half of U.S. states have seen their highest daily infection numbers so far at some point in October, and the country as a whole came very close to back-to-back record daily infection rates on Friday and Saturday.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that 83,718 new cases were reported Saturday, just shy of the 83,757 infections reported Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the United States on a single day had been 77,362, on July 16.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which federal health officials have used as a source for their pandemic projections, currently forecasts that the U.S. COVID-19 death toll could exceed 318,000 by Jan. 1.

As of Sunday, there were more than 8.6 million confirmed infections in the U.S., with deaths climbing to over 225,000, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

At least seven states — Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Oklahoma — saw record high infection levels Saturday. And some Northeastern states hit hard in the spring are seeing numbers bounce back; New Jersey’s toll of 1,909 new infections Saturday was the most it had seen in a day since early May.

The virus also is surging in the Mountain West, especially Idaho and Utah.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, new data suggest that 1 in 24 residents has contracted the coronavirus, said Dr. Joshua Kern, vice president of medical affairs at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. Amid a crush of new cases, the hospital brought in nurses from Boise, scaled back elective surgery and, as of Friday, stopped admitting pediatric patients.

“It’s gotten kind of out of hand,” Kern told The Associated Press. “We’ve had something like a third of our total COVID cases in our community in the last two to three weeks. There are a lot of parts of the state suffering under the same burden.”

Kern said Twin Falls had been lulled into complacency after months of relatively low numbers, adding “going back to school was the signal to our communities that we can get back to normal.”

“It’s like the community said, ‘Oh, good. It’s over. We can party again,’ and we saw the virus increase,” he said. “This week, we went to the coffee shop to get pastries for our group, and it was closed because of COVID. And we knew that the week before, they had been in there unmasked.”

Mark Chidichimo, a retired FBI agent, said his sister, brother-in-law, brother, nephew and 92-year-old father in Idaho have all been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last three weeks.

Chidichimo, who lives in New Jersey, had nothing but praise for St. Luke’s in Twin Falls, but said his brother was told that if he needed hospitalization, he’d be sent to Seattle, more than 600 miles away.

“Hey, Idaho. This is coming from someone who has been there, done that: You really want to avoid this if you can,” he said. “It’s going to be really bad, and I pray to God that none of my family members have to be hospitalized. Because if they do, I don’t know if they’ll survive.”

After months of improvement, parts of Europe are going back into lockdown or ramping up restrictions again amid a spike in infections. Italy imposed at least a month of new restrictions across the country on Sunday, insisting that people outdoors wear masks, shutting down gyms, pools and movie theaters, and putting an early curfew on cafes and restaurants.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn, who tested positive Wednesday, pleaded with citizens to wear masks as the virus spikes across the country and hospital ICUs are filling up again.

“Please continue to help and don’t listen to those who play down (coronavirus),” he said. “It is serious.”

In New Mexico, which reported record numbers of additional COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent days, more than 350 doctors, nurses and other health care professionals signed a letter imploring residents to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and limit large gatherings to help prevent another wave of “lonely deaths.”

“Please help health care professionals help you,” said the letter, posted on the state Department of Health’s website. “Help us protect you. Help us ensure that we have the resources to treat the sick and care for the dying.”

On Saturday, New Mexico officials reported 875 new cases and five additional deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 41,040 cases and 965 deaths. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations increased to 264, up from a record 229 on Friday, which topped the previous high of 223 from mid-May.

Paur, whose brother and his girlfriend both recently tested positive for the virus, is worried about them, and herself.

“People need to know that our lives are on the line,” the Utah woman said. "We’re running out of money really fast.”

—-

Ramer reported from Concord, N.H.; Sainz reported from Memphis, Tennessee. Associated Press writer Jim Mustian in New Orleans contributed.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fear and anxiety spike in virus hot spots across US
About half of U.S. states have seen their highest daily coronavirus infection numbers so far at some point in October, and the country as a whole came very close to back-to-back record daily infection rates on Friday and Saturday
2:17PM ( 4 minutes ago )
AP Top 25: Indiana jumps in at 17; Ohio State moves up to 3
Indiana has jumped into The Associated Press college football poll after pulling off the weekend's most dramatic upset and Ohio State moved up to No. 3 following a dominant season debut
2:02PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Thousands protest as Belarus leader faces demands deadline
Tens of thousands of protesters in Belarus have pressed for the resignation of the country’s authoritarian leader in what human rights activists described as the largest anti-government rally since late August
2:02PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Senate votes to advance Barrett; confirmation expected Mon
The Republican-led Senate has voted to advance Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett toward final confirmation despite Democratic objections
1:29PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Senate set to advance court nominee Barrett in key vote
The Republican-led Senate is set to vote on Sunday to advance Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett toward final confirmation despite Democratic objections
1:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes first Black US prelate
Pope Francis has named Washington D
12:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
AP Top 25: Indiana jumps in at 17; Ohio State moves up to 3
Indiana has jumped into The Associated Press college football poll after pulling off the weekend's most dramatic upset and Ohio State moved up to No. 3 following a dominant season debut
2:02PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Thousands protest as Belarus leader faces demands deadline
Tens of thousands of protesters in Belarus have pressed for the resignation of the country’s authoritarian leader in what human rights activists described as the largest anti-government rally since late August
2:02PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Trump intensifies fracking assault on Biden in Pennsylvania
In a persistent gambit to win the battleground state of Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump has worked to peel off voters connected to its booming natural gas industry and accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of plotting to shut it down
1:53PM ( 28 minutes ago )
The Latest: Gase hands off Jets’ play calls to Loggains
At 0-6, New York Jets coach Adam Gase said the team was looking for anything that might help them get a victory
1:48PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Italy sees more than 20,000 new virus cases, many in north
ROME _ Italy’s one-day caseload of confirmed coronavirus infections has jumped past 20,000
1:42PM ( 39 minutes ago )