Coronavirus cases on the rise in U.S. cities

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Photo via Pedro Szekely/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Coronavirus cases are once again on the rise in cities throughout the United States, according to a Nov. 26 Washington Post report.

“Major metropolitan areas were the face of the pandemic before being overtaken by spikes in less-populated parts of the country in September,” the article noted. “Since then, the nation’s worst outbreaks have been concentrated in rural parts of the Upper Midwest.”

Indeed, concern about rural outbreaks has marked this most recent phase of the coronavirus pandemic, with an Oct. 22 New York Times article focusing attention on states like North Dakota, where a rise in cases strained hospital capacity.

But now, cities across the U.S. are experiencing new spikes in cases, with public health officials bracing for an expected rise in cases to follow the Thanksgiving holiday.

The article notes Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, saw its seven-day average of new cases reached a record high of 4,654 on Nov. 17, compared to just 1,690 during the worst of the outbreak this past spring. Though the death numbers are lower than in the spring, they’ve climbed in recent weeks to raise renewed concerns.

“We’ve been through a heck of a lot this year, and it’s not over,” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a recent news conference, with Illinois closing some businesses and limiting others in an effort to slow the pandemic’s spread.

Chicago neighborhoods in the West and Southwest parts of the city, predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods where coronavirus also spread widely in the spring, are especially hard hit.

As the article notes, “The second peak in Chicago mirrors those in metropolitan areas across the country. In recent weeks, counties home to cities including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Las Vegas and Minneapolis have seen new cases surpass their past highs. Miami-Dade County has been trending up again, while Salt Lake County is experiencing its first major peak of the pandemic, with cases and hospitalizations rising since early October.”

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer commented on Nov. 20 on coronavirus data looking “really bad right now,” with the county experiencing three prior “terrible” days with respect to case and hospitalization numbers. Those spikes led to a renewal of some restrictions, with outdoor dining paused for the first time since May, and with stay-at-home restrictions on the table should numbers continue to worsen.

The nation’s capital is also experiencing a recent rise in cases. WTOP reports that the total number of new coronavirus cases in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia topped 5,500 on Nov. 25, setting a single-day record for the region. Hospitalizations were also up, reaching levels not seen since May.

The majority of cases in the region were concentrated in the D.C. and Baltimore metro areas, with Maryland noting a number of cases along the Interstate 95 corridor, and Virginia’s numbers concentrated in counties closest to the District.

Sources: Washington Post, New York Times, WTOP-TV

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