Third COVID-19 wave crashing into states across U.S. as hospitalizations and cases rise

Oct. 29, 2020, United States of Care, Resolve to Save Lives, U.S. Digital Response, COVID Act Now, COVID State Policy dot org, and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy held a press webinar outlining new data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, data challenges, the upcoming election and steps the federal government can take to provide COVID relief. 

“United States of Care is constantly talking to people across the country about COVID-19 and the state of healthcare in the U.S. We have found that Americans want accurate and reliable data, and meets that need by supplying real-time data on where their state stands in the battle against COVD-19,” stated Emily Barson, United States of Care Executive Director. was founded by a group of public health and crisis experts, with previous experience working at the White House, Department of Health and Human Services, and on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. COVID Exit Strategy is a non-partisan group of experts who have worked across multiple administrations.  

“In times of stress, we seek human connection, we want to be with our friends and family. But socializing indoors is a perfect setting for the spread of COVID-19. This may be the year to rethink an extended family get together over Thanksgiving. Given the level of viral activity in most states, you may be putting your loved ones at risk by choosing to gather indoors over a meal,” said Marta Wosinska, Deputy Director at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. 

“As COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the United States, we must increase our vigilance around preventing infections by wearing masks and social distancing, identifying cases early with accessible and timely testing and rapidly isolating cases and quarantining contacts to reduce ongoing transmission. Anything less will result in millions of preventable cases and tens of thousands of preventable deaths,” added Cyrus Shahpar of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. 

“To beat this virus, we can’t give up. The public needs accurate and real-time data on how the virus is spreading at the county level. The only complete source for COVID-related data at the county level is the federal government. The public needs access to the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports and the underlying datasets,” remarked Ryan Panchadsaram, Co-Founder of “I encourage you to look at this spreadsheet which captures what data is collected by the federal government and what is made public and what is kept private.” 

Debbie Lai, COVID Act Now added, “As of today, there is only one state in the U.S. where COVID is not actively increasing: Kansas. 49 of the remaining 50 states have an infection growth rate greater than 1. Case numbers are now at a level matching COVID’s highest peak in July.” 

What’s unique about this third surge? States such as New York, California, and Florida, who had fared worse earlier in this pandemic are containing COVID comparatively well at this time. Instead, the worst of this surge is hitting states in the Midwest and West that had previously averted the worst of COVID.  

 We’re also seeing rural areas hit harder this time around. This may be for a few reasons:  

·         One, rural areas tend to have older populations than urban areas (17.5 percent v 13 percent), and we know that older populations face a higher risk of hospitalization and death from COVID 

·         Two, long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some rural residents at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or having severe illness. In general, rural Americans tend to have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity as well as less access to healthcare which can negatively affect health outcomes. They are also less likely to have health insurance.

·         Three, as Alan Morgan, chief executive of the National Rural Health Association has observed, misconceptions that the virus dwelt only in urban areas may have caused rural America to be late to adopt preventive measures.  

Christopher Adolph, closed, “By the end of the second surge this summer, thirty-three states had adopted statewide requirements to wear masks indoors in public spaces. Their numbers haven’t grown in the fall surge – in fact, Mississippi dropped their statewide mandate, taking us down to 32 states. As a result, many states hit hard by COVID-19 this fall have either no mask mandates or confusing and incomplete patchworks of local requirements, allowing pockets of transmission to grow. Statewide mask mandates are simple, fair, economically affordable, and foster a stronger culture around mask use. IHME’s forecasts suggests raising mask adherence to 95percent could save 130,000 lives by February: even if we don’t get to 95 percent, every bit helps.” has the webinar

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