The nationwide numbers are STILL sky high in certain regions………
And even in lower infection regions they are climbing due the holidays, travel and virus fatigue….
The most effective, low cost defense against the virus is still wearing a mask , hand washing and distancing….
And the country topped 2,800 deaths for the first time on Wednesday, and then did so again on Thursday. The seven-day average for new deaths rose to more than 2,000 for the first time since April with Tennessee and Oregon setting single-day records; 16 states reported more deaths in the past week than in any previous week.
California, where daily case reports have tripled in the past month, is just one of several states that had appeared to have gained control of the virus, only to see it spread rapidly throughout the fall. More than 23,000 new cases were reported by Friday night, the third consecutive single-day record.
In the Midwest, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and North Dakota have had varied mask mandates and other restrictions, with South Dakota doing very little at all, but all of them have been declining in cases, according to a New York Times database. North Dakota, for example, after leading the nation in daily new cases per person for weeks, has seen its rate fall by more than half since mid-November.
In part, the news media may have had a role in the change, said Carl Bergstrom, a professor of biology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Before the virus slammed into the region, news outlets were not necessarily giving as much coverage to the pandemic there as in other areas, like the Northeast. But once cases became prevalent, he said, news reports heightened public awareness of the danger, and more residents took action to protect themselves.
“One of the big lessons in the pandemic is, no matter how good you are at predicting how a disease spreads through a population, that’s not going to help you that much because the enormous drivers are behavioral changes,”….
Underlying conditions have played a pivotal role in determining who survives the virus. Americans who have conditions like diabetes, hypertension and obesity — about 45 percent of the population — are more vulnerable.
And new evidence has emerged that people in lower-income neighborhoods experienced higher exposure risk to the virus because of their need to work outside the home.
The poor, in particular, have been more at risk than the rich, according to analyses of those who have been sickened by the virus or succumbed to it.
Studies suggest that the reason the virus has affected Black and Latino communities more than white neighborhoods is tied to social and environmental factors, not any innate vulnerability.
According to one recent study of cellphone data, people in lower-income neighborhoods experienced significantly higher exposure risk to the virus because they were compelled to go to jobs outside their homes….