The United States has seen its highest number of new Covid-19 cases in the past two days, making the pandemic a major electoral issue as Vice President Mike Pence travels the country to campaign despite testing positive close collaborators.
The United States reported 79,852 new infections on Saturday, near the previous day’s record of 84,244 new cases. Hospitalizations are also increasing and have reached a two-month high and deaths tend to increase, according to a Reuters tally.
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So far in October, 29 states have set records for increases in the number of new cases, including five considered key in the November 3 presidential election: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Hospitals are under strain in several states, including North Dakota, which is hardest hit according to recent new cases per capita, according to a Reuters analysis.
The city of El Paso, Texas is asking residents to stay in their homes for the next two weeks, and El Paso County as a whole has closed its parks and recreation facilities for 14 days.
“If we continue on this trend, we risk adverse effects on our entire health system,” the city’s director of public health, Angela Mora, said in a statement. “For the sake of those hospitalized and frontline healthcare workers who work tirelessly every day to care for them, we ask that you stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with people outside your home. focus until we can flatten the curve.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday asked the federal government to allow the use of an army medical center in Fort Bliss by non-coronavirus patients to ease the burden on hospitals.
On Sunday, Abbott said state emergency management officials would open another care site, initially with 50 beds, at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center this week.
New White House epidemic
Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short tested positive on Saturday, along with several other senior assistants. Despite the outbreak, the White House said the vice president will continue his campaign, visiting North Carolina on Sunday and Minnesota on Monday.
The new infections were a reminder of how Trump – who was hospitalized for three nights this month after contracting Covid-19 – and those around him played down advice from public health experts to wear masks and ” observe social distancing guidelines to stem Covid-19 transmission.
When asked about CNN’s “State of the Union” why Pence was not following the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to quarantine for 14 days after such exposure, Meadows cited the status of the vice president as “essential staff”.
The latest outbreak follows what health experts described as a high-profile White House event on September 26, where President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.