The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States topped 7 million - more than 20 percent of the world's total - as Midwest states reported spikes in COVID-19 infections in September, according to a Reuters tally.
The latest milestone on Thursday comes just days after the nation surpassed over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world's highest death toll from the virus. Each day, over 700 people die in the United States from COVID-19.
California leads the country with over 800,000 total cases, followed by Texas, Florida and New York.
All Midwest states except Ohio reported more cases in the past four weeks as compared with the prior four weeks, led by South Dakota and North Dakota. South Dakota had the biggest percentage increase at 166 percent with 8,129 new cases, while North Dakota’s new cases doubled to 8,752 as compared to 4,243 during the same time in August.
Many cases in those two states have been linked to the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, that annually attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
According to a Reuters analysis, positive cases rose in half of the 50 US states this month. Ten states have reported a record one-day increase in COVID-19 cases in September, including Montana, South Dakota and Utah on Thursday.
New cases rose last week after falling for eight consecutive weeks. Health experts believe this spike was due to reopening schools and universities as well as parties over the recent Labor Day holiday.
A study by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Indiana University, the University of Washington and Davidson College said recent reopening of college and university campuses for in-person instruction during late summer this year could be associated with more than 3,000 additional cases of COVID-19 per day in the United States in recent weeks.
US confirmed cases are the highest in the world followed by India with 5.7 million cases and Brazil with 4.6 million.
The United states is currently averaging 40,000 new infections per day. Top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he would like to see the number to fall below 10,000 per day before flu season starts in October.
Health officials and President Donald Trump have presented different views about the nation's health crisis. Trump, who is seeking re-election to a second term on Nov. 3, early this month had claimed that the United States was “rounding the corner” on the crisis. Fauci contradicted the claim the next day, saying the statistics were disturbing.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.