Four of the five highest days occurred during the past week, with the U.S. setting a record on Tuesday of more than 500,000 infections in a 7-day period.
Daily deaths are also climbing across the county, with one American dying every 107 seconds, according to USA Today.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it: We are facing an urgent crisis, and there is an imminent risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors and the people you care about,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said during a news conference.
Evers and health officials are urging residents to stay home and avoid gatherings of more than five people, only leaving home when absolutely necessary. Tuesday marked the worst day so far for the state.
The U.S. is “not in a good place,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday during a Q&A session with JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.
The rising surge, paired with cold winter months and holiday gatherings, creates a “bad recipe for a tough time ahead,” he said.
Fauci supported a national mask mandate on Wednesday to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and ease the burden of the months ahead. But a national mandate is unlikely to come from the White House, he said.
“We’re going to have many more hospitalizations, and that will inevitably lead to more deaths,” he told CNBC. “This is an untenable situation.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations are spiking in the Midwest as well, with 13 states reporting peaks on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Indiana and Wisconsin reported their peak days during the past week, and Kansas reported the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit on the same day the state’s death toll passed 1,000.
Illinois has increased restrictions in most regions, according to NBC 5 Chicago, which includes a closure of indoor dining and limits on gatherings to less than 25 people. The remaining regions could face new restrictions this weekend as cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.
Illinois is “getting close to the entire state implementing mitigation measures,” Ngozi Ezike, MD, the director of the state’s Department of Public Health, said Wednesday as new restrictions were announced.
“This is not just a warning but a call to action,” she said. “We continue to move backwards, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer.”
Coronavirus cases are surging across the world as well, with last week marking the highest tally of COVID-19 cases so far, according to the World Health Organization.
Several European countries have announced new restrictions. France, Italy, and Spain have limited nonessential business and enforced overnight curfews, and Russia announced a mask mandate.
“We’re well behind this virus,” Mike Ryan, MD, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said at a news briefing.
“We will have to get ahead of this virus,” he said. “That may require sacrifice for many, many people in terms of their personal lives.”