Peter Wells in New York
Illinois on Wednesday reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus deaths of the pandemic, while new cases remain below recent record highs.
Daily deaths, which tend to lag cases and hospitalisations, have hit high or record levels in several Midwest states in recent days, but encouraging trends for most of the region remain in place as new infections continue to decline from peak levels in November.
Illinois attributed 238 deaths to coronavirus on Wednesday, soaring past the state’s previous one-day record of 191 on May 13, according to health department data. Its overall death toll of 11,963 ranks sixth in the US, behind New Jersey and ahead of Massachusetts.
Wisconsin this afternoon reported a further 82 deaths, down from Tuesday’s record of 107, while Indiana revealed 91 more fatalities, down from the 146 on Tuesday that ranked among the state’s 20 most deadly days.
Ohio reported a further 123 deaths, it’s third-biggest daily jump of the pandemic, up from 119 on Tuesday. The state set a daily record of 156 on November 25.
More encouraging, though, is that daily cases in these states have trended lower in the past few weeks. On Wednesday, Illinois reported a further 9,757 infections, down from an 11-day high on Tuesday of 12,542.
Wisconsin had a further 3,777 new confirmed cases, down from 4,078 on Tuesday but nearly half its record of 7,989 on November 18, according to health department data. Indiana revealed a further 6,655 cases, up from 5,396 yesterday and compared to its record of more than 8,300 on November 14. Ohio reported 7,835 new cases, down from 9,030 on Tuesday. The state had 11,885 on a single-day on November 23.
With the exception of Ohio, all of the 11 states in the Midwest had seven-day average case rates that were down at least 10 per cent from peak rates, according to a Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.
While officials in many states across the country have warned that it may take a week or so to gauge any impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on infection rates, states in the Midwest were already experiencing a gradual decline in daily case rates from around mid-November. That may help, albeit partially, to offset rising trends in other parts of the country. California and Texas, which rank first and second among states by population, are reporting one-day jumps in new cases that exceed levels they hit during their summer surge.