November 4, 2020 -- Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to elect the President as the coronavirus kept surging across the nation.

Hospitalizations -- considered one of the most reliable metrics for measuring the pandemic’s severity – are climbing again, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The website said about 48,000 people were hospitalized nationwide for coronavirus-related causes on Tuesday, up by about 11,000 people from Oct. 16. The record for hospitalizations was around 59,000 set in late April and again in late July.

States hitting record highs in hospitalizations include Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico, the Associated Press reported. 

In Nebraska, hospitalizations doubled in recent weeks to 613 on Sunday.

“No doubt if this trend continues — not just at our hospitals — but every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time,” Cary Ward MD, chief medical officer for the CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, said during a video call with reporters.

In Colorado, the state government said computer models show the state will probably exceed the April peak in hospitalizations within two weeks, a state news release said, and the state could surpass intensive care unit capacity in January.

“There is a small window to improve transmission control over the next few weeks,” said Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health. “To limit increasing infections and avoid peaks that could strain healthcare capacity over the next three months, a substantial increase in transmission control is needed.”

In Missouri, an eighth-grade boy died, becoming the state’s first person under 18 to succumb to coronavirus-related causes, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

The state is grappling with an impending shortage of hospital beds as the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients keeps going up. There were 1,649 people in the hospital on Sunday, with 500 in ICU, the newspaper said.

On Monday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered flags flown at half-staff to mark the 1,000th COVID-related death in the state, the Associated Press reported. The state also set a daily high of 380 people hospitalized for coronavirus-related conditions.

Meanwhile, with health officials urging social distancing, large groups of people gathered at polling places to vote on Tuesday.

“It’s very serious that we have 400 people gathered in one space at the height of the pandemic here in Wisconsin. So, we’ve tried to take every measure to limit the movement throughout the room,” Claire Woodall-Vogg, the election commission director of the city of Milwaukee, told the Associated Press.

Coronavirus case numbers are climbing in all but a handful of states, and Johns Hopkins University said 84,089 new cases were reported on Tuesday. 

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

Covid Tracking Project

Associated Press. "Virus hospitalizations surge as pandemic shadows US election"

State of Colorado. "Newest COVID-19 model indicates Colorado will hit a record number of hospitalizations from the pandemic within two weeks"

St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Franklin County boy is the first child to die of coronavirus in Missouri as state sees record hospitalizations again"

 Associated Press. New Mexico marks high for COVID-19 hospitalizations

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