US Sets Another COVID Record, Hospitals Scramble

Ralph Ellis

November 06, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Governors are toughening face mask rules and other restrictions as the still-surging coronavirus pandemic continues to topple records for case numbers across the nation.

On Thursday, the country recorded 121,888 new COVID cases — a 1-day record and the second day in a row the count has topped 100,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project. It was only a week ago that the U.S. hit 90,000 cases in 1 day. 

The United States is nearing the 10 million mark for total cases, with almost 235,000 total coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cases are rising in almost all parts of the country, with Missouri, Alaska, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico hitting record highs for 7-day averages for hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

An average of just under 50,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 during the last week, and just over 53,000 people were hospitalized Thursday.

Maine hit a record Thursday with 183 new cases in a 24-hour period. In response, Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order requiring people to wear face masks in public in almost all circumstances. The older mandate said masks should be worn when physical distancing was not possible. 

"We have recorded yet another day of record high case numbers. This deadly and dangerous virus is spreading all across our state," Mills said in a news release announcing the new rule. "Protect your family. Protect a health care worker. Protect the elderly. Wear your face covering. Save lives. It is that simple."

In Rhode Island, new rules going into effect Sunday require bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A stay-at-home advisory is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 p.m.-5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Indoor venues like movie theaters and houses of worship are limited to 50% capacity and outdoor venues to 66% capacity. 

Masks are required any time you're near people who don't live with you, including at the gym," the state website says.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that private indoor and outdoor social gatherings are now limited to 10 people. He recommended — but did not mandate — a statewide curfew.

Earlier, the governor ordered restaurants to close by 9:30 p.m. and went back to a 50% capacity.

"Everyone wear a mask whenever you leave home and wear a mask INSIDE your home if someone from outside your household is visiting," the state said in a news release.

The coronavirus is still a big problem on college campuses, and many health experts say the surge in cases nationwide partly comes from students returning to campus.

A New York Times survey found more than a quarter-million infections at about 1,600 colleges and universities. At least 80 college students have died since the beginning of the pandemic in January.

A state-by-state breakdown in the Times survey said Texas colleges have reported the most cases — over 20,000 at 83 schools. Florida was second, with more than 13,000 cases at 87 schools, and Ohio was third, with about 12,000 cases at 59 schools.


COVID Tracking Project: "Maps & Trends, Cumulative Cases: Cumulative Cases By Days Since 50th Confirmed Case."

Twitter: @COVID19Tracking, Nov. 5, 2020.

Governor of Maine. "Following Record COVID-19 Cases, Governor Mills Announces New Face Covering Executive Order."

State of Rhode Island: "Alerts and Latest Guidance."

News release, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont: "Governor Lamont Provides Update on Connecticut's Coronavirus Response Efforts."

The New York Times: "Tracking the Coronavirus at U.S. Colleges and Universities."