New US COVID-19 cases up 34% last week, set fresh records

New US COVID-19 cases up 34% last week, set fresh records

A man receives the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test
A man receives the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test, distributed by the Wisconsin National Guard at the United Migrant Opportunity Services center, as cases spread in the Midwest, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Oct 2, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski)

WASHINGTON: The coronavirus pandemic raged across the United States last week, as the country elected a new president, with the daily number of new infections hitting record highs for four straight days.

More than 770,000 new cases were diagnosed in the week ended Nov 10, up 34 per cent over the previous seven days. Deaths increased 15 per cent to more than 6,600 people, the highest one-week total since mid-August. Health experts say deaths tend to increase four to six weeks after a surge in infections.

President-elect Joe Biden planned to convene a task force to tackle the pandemic and on Monday hailed progress on a vaccine that Pfizer Inc said was more than 90 per cent effective.

"Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts," Biden said in a statement.

Cases are up in most of the country, including several states that fared relatively well over the summer and early fall including Maine, Vermont, Washington and Hawaii. The upper Midwest continued to be a driver of new cases, with Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana accounting for nearly one-third of all new cases in the country.

The number of new tests increased 9.3 per cent last week, well behind the rate of new infections. About 8.2 per cent of tests came back positive for the new virus, the highest since early May.

Iowa's positive test rate stood at 62.3 per cent last week, while South Dakota and Idaho each reported positive test rates over 40 per cent as well.

The World Health Organization considers rates above 5 per cent concerning because it suggests there are more cases in the community that have not yet been uncovered.

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Source: Reuters/ec