A masked casino worker sanitizes a card table at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., on Wednesday. Partitions and seats are sanitized each time a customer leaves to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 22 (UPI) -- New data from Johns Hopkins University on Thursday showed that another 1,100 people in the United States have died of COVID-19 -- the highest one-day toll in more than a month, as cases continue to surge nationwide.
The data lists 1,124 new deaths on Wednesday. That's the highest single-day death count since Sept. 15, when U.S. cases first began to rise again.
Johns Hopkins data also showed nearly 63,000 new cases on Wednesday, continuing a steady rise in the United States since early September. Thursday marked the seventh time in the last eight days that the United States added at least 50,000 cases.
Health officials have warned that the colder fall and winter months, combined with flu season, is going to make the coronavirus crisis worse. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said this week a dramatic rise in cases is coming in a few days.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 8.34 million cases and about 222,300 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.
A new study Wednesday said between 130,000 and 210,000 deaths may have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership.
By contrasting the U.S. response with several comparable countries and applying proportional mortality rates, researchers at the Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness found that the Trump administration's leadership likely caused thousands of "avoidable" deaths in the United States.
The study noted that other high-income nations -- South Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada and France -- immediately instituted protocols for testing and protective equipment, but the United States lagged behind.
The result, the authors said, was a U.S. mortality rate per 100,000 "fifty times higher than Japan's, and more than twice as high as our Canadian neighbors."
"Although both the U.S. and South Korea confirmed their first case of coronavirus on Jan. 20, South Korea was able to institute an aggressive diagnostic testing strategy and isolate infected patients, leading to a proportional mortality rate today that is 78 times smaller than that of the United States," the report states.
Some health experts are warning that a vaccine probably won't prevent COVID-19 from becoming an endemic -- an ailment, like chicken pox, that is always present somewhere in the community.
Dr. David Heymann, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization, told a webinar for the British think tank Chatham House on Wednesday that people should prepare for COVID-19 to remain and develop strategies to cope indefinitely.
"The difficulty right now is that in many countries, they are looking forward to a vaccine which may or may not come, which may or may not be effective in the short or long term, and they are looking at possible therapeutic [options] which could solve many of the problems," he said. "But, that's not a good way to proceed at present."
"We have to learn to live with the pandemic."
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy and wife Tammy have entered self-quarantine after two of the governor's staff members tested positive. Neither, however, have so far tested positive.
"The governor received a coronavirus test on Monday as part of his regularly-scheduled testing regime, which came back negative," spokesperson Mahen Gunaratna said in a statement.
New Jersey has reported more than 1,000 new cases for a third consecutive day and officials say hospitalizations are on the rise.
In Ohio, state health officials reported a record number of cases Wednesday for the third time in a week -- which prompted pleas from Gov. Mike DeWine for residents to observe safety protocols as the winter flu season approaches.
Hospitalizations are also at a record high, including more than 300 patients in intensive care and dozens on ventilators.
"We're going to see our hospitals overflowing and we're going to look like Italy," DeWine told WLWT-TV. "We'll look like some of those other countries when this thing really, really hit. We don't want that. We have it within our own hands to avoid that."
In Wisconsin, health officials reported record deaths and the state hospital association said more than 1,200 patients are still hospitalized.
A new field hospital at the Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee has also taken in its first patient, Gov. Tony Evers said.
"We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today," he said.