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U.S. adds almost 80K new COVID-19 cases; states see deaths spike

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wears a mask as she speaks with children at a community event Wednesday in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/ec2531130d6cef37bda13f9a60e4cc7d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wears a mask as she speaks with children at a community event Wednesday in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Now well into a new major surge of the COVID-19 era, the United States has added almost 80,000 new cases, according to updated data Thursday from Johns Hopkins University.

New cases nationwide haven't totaled fewer than 60,000 in any one day in more than a week. Researchers at Johns Hopkins showed an addition of 79,000 cases and nearly 1,000 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday.

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Over the past week, the average has been 74,000 per day -- nearly twice the average of about 45,000 in September. The past seven days have also included four of the five highest daily figures to date.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 8.86 million cases and 227,800 deaths in the United States.

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The average daily death tolls in Tennessee and Idaho have spiked by between 70% and 90% this week, according to Johns Hopkins.

"We're really not going to see this start to peak until after Thanksgiving," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC Thursday.

"After Thanksgiving, that's going to be a turning point when the infection levels get high enough in many parts of the country that we start to see a policy reaction and also consumer behavior start to change."

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In Wisconsin, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said cases in the state have surpassed 200,000.

"We've got this situation that is clearly out of control right now in the state of Wisconsin," he told CNN, citing a 450% rise in the seven-day average and a surge in hospitalizations.

He said intensive care units "are getting near capacity" and that political divisiveness nationwide has "permeated this in a way that has made it very, very difficult for us to deal with."

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The state Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear a suit filed by a conservative think-tank challenging the legality of Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate.

Hospital admissions have surged over the past week, prompting the University of Wisconsin to suspend all football activities and cancel Saturday's game against Nebraska.

A dozen players and staffers in the football program have tested positive in the past few days, including head coach Paul Chryst.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he will extend his state of emergency declaration beyond Saturday due to the rising number of cases. The state has reached a record high for hospital admissions.

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The extension will allow local mask mandates to continue. Lee has resisted imposing a statewide requirement for face masks.

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