The news about the COVID-19 pandemic is not good.
Catawba County had its biggest one-day new cases Friday, topping the previous record of 66 from late June. There were 90 confirmed new cases reported Friday. Catawba County has had 61 deaths from the disease. The Saturday report was 24 new cases...the average for the week over 50 per day.
Gaston County's active cases are now 1,144 after declining to less than 900 for the first time since mid-July. The increase in new cases has 71 people in Gaston County hospitalized. The county has now had 103 COVID deaths.
Cleveland County has now had 76 deaths from the disease. The number of active cases there is 184.
Lincoln County's active case count declined for the second time in recent reports--it's now 123, but another death brings that figure to 18. After averaging 20 new cases per day in September, Lincoln is now averaging 27 per day this month.
The state of North Carolina, which had set a daily record for new cases on Thursday did it again Friday. The 2,532 new cases Thursday was topped Friday when 2,684 new cases were reported. Saturday's number dropped a bit, but was still over 2,000 at 2,102. The state has now had 3,929 people die related to the virus.
Nationally, in late June to early July, the US entered what some have called a second wave of the virus. The number of cases and deaths peaked at twice that of the first. Now it appears that a third wave may have begun, and some medical experts are predicting that unless more people begin complying with the masks and other requirements, it could mean another doubling--producing twice the number of cases and deaths.
Officially, the CDC says the US has now had 217,918 deaths from the virus. The number of new cases, which peaked at a weekly average of just over 31,000 in April, the first wave, and 67,000 in July (the second wave) was over 55,000 in the last seven days--and 33 states have reported more new cases this week than last (including North Carolina). New cases per day are on the rise in 44 states and deaths per day in 30. The US reported at least 69,000 new COVID-19 infections Friday — the most in a single day since July.
North Carolina, Tennessee, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont have experienced an increase in new cases of more than 50% this week. New cases are holding steady in 16 states. Only Maine, Texas and Washington are reporting fewer new daily cases on average from last week.
Is this the third wave? Many medical experts say it may be. The pandemic won't end soon, they say, expecting December and January to be the worst months yet. Researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation project more than 2,300 Americans could be dying daily in January. So far, the most deaths nationally in a day were days in April with over 2,700 and June with nearly 2,500. For the last week, newly reported deaths averaged just over 500 per day.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, echoed similar opinions by a multitude of his colleagues, saying that instead of getting better, things are getting worse. "We’ve really got to double down on the fundamental public health measures every day, because they can make a difference.”
Worldwide, the pandemic is also worsening. Much of Europe has seen a surge in cases and several countries have re-implemented a variety of restrictions including lockdowns to try to slow the spread.
More cancellations in our area--the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce cancelled its Networking Luncheon that had been scheduled for next Wednesday (Oct. 21st), Denver and Lincolnton Leads Groups in-person events and Young Professionals in-person events. The Gastonia Farmers Market announced it will be closed through next Thursday after one of the vendors tested positive for the virus. Gaston County Schools closed Gardner Park Elementary School until Oct. 26th because of an outbreak there.