DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Even as a long-feared second wave of coronavirus infections strains hospitals, officials in many hard-hit states are resisting taking stronger action to stop the spread, with public fatigue and political calculations running up against pleas from health experts.
Days before a presidential election that has spotlighted President Donald Trump’s scattershot response to the pandemic, new confirmed virus cases continue to spiral, passing the 9 million mark Friday and eclipsing previous caseload spikes that set off national alarms in the spring and summer. Infections were on the rise in 47 states.
During earlier outbreaks, first in the Northeast and then in Sun Belt states, many governors closed schools and businesses and restricted public gatherings.
But the new surge, despite being far more widespread, has brought a decidedly more limited response in many states.
Most are led by Republican governors backing a president who insists, falsely, that the country is getting the virus under control.
Over the past two weeks, more than 76,000 new virus cases have been reported daily in the U.S. on average, up from about 54,000 in mid-October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths, which usually lag case numbers and hospitalizations, are also rising, from about 700 to more than 800 a day.
The virus has now killed more than 229,000 Americans.