For the third time in the past week, the United States set a new high for new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, as local and state leaders order new restrictions to reduce the transmission of the virus and prepare for an anticipated flood of hospitalizations.
The day, with 135,428 reported cases, was also record-breaking for the nation in other measures: The daily coronavirus-related death toll was 1,403 — the highest count since mid-August — and for the first time since late July, more than 61,900 people are battling the virus in hospitals. The seven-day average of infections in the United States is now above 120,000, as the country appears poised to overtake these highs by later this week.
Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana topped previous highs for new case counts, while daily death toll records were surpassed in Missouri, Wisconsin, Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota.
No state on Tuesday reported a lower seven-day average of new cases than the previous week.
In states where infections and hospitalizations have surged, many leaders called for people to socially distance and wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus. Some went as far as imposing new rules on gatherings and businesses.
Indoor capacity for bars and restaurants in Maryland will be reduced from 75 percent to 50 percent beginning Wednesday, and state government employees who are able to will be required to work remotely, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Tuesday. Travel restrictions to other states were also toughened as the virus surges, especially in Midwest states.
In Minnesota, where new cases rose sharply since late October, Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued an executive order that bars and restaurants must close early and limit capacity. Walz said in a news briefing Tuesday that outbreaks have emerged in those indoor spaces, where younger people tend to congregate.
Eleven California counties, including Sacramento and San Diego, backslid in their return to normalcy after the state moved them to more-restrictive reopening tiers.
Not all leaders imposed mandatory restrictions. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced Tuesday that he was encouraging residents to stay home as infections have ballooned — a lesser restriction after the state’s highest court in July struck down the Democratic leader’s safer-at-home order, a decision Evers said had “hamstrung” the state’s response to the pandemic.
“We have now surpassed in deaths the number of lives we projected we would have saved months ago if we would have been able to keep safer-at-home and reopen safely,” Evers said.