First signs of Thanksgiving COVID-19 wave emerge

The first signs of a post-Thanksgiving surge in coronavirus cases are beginning to show up in data released by states across the country in a troubling prelude of what may become the deadliest month of the pandemic so far.

Those hints of an uptick in case counts come as the country faces an already substantial wave of infections that began in the Upper Midwest and spread to every corner of the map as summer turned to fall and the weather cooled.

The United States has averaged nearly 200,000 new confirmed cases a day over the last week, according to The Covid Tracking Project, run by a group of independent researchers. More than 2,200 people a day have died on an average during that period. The number of patients being treated in hospitals has crested 102,000, the highest levels of the pandemic.

The country still lacks a national testing strategy that public health experts say is essential to bringing the pandemic under control. President Trump’s remarks about the virus have become few and far between, even as he continues to hold in-person events where attendees are mostly maskless. The White House held a vaccine summit on Tuesday, though representatives from the two companies that have produced the earliest vaccines were not present.

One sort of bright spot: There are some hopeful signs that the third wave is ebbing in parts of the Midwest. The number of newly confirmed cases has declined for two straight weeks in 10 states, including hard-hit Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and New Mexico.