The US tallied more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases for a ninth straight day, hitting a record high as Chicago urged residents to stay at home as much as possible and scale back Thanksgiving celebrations.
There were 150,526 new cases nationwide on Thursday, pushing the overall number of US cases since the pandemic began past 10.4m. It marked the third straight day the country has registered a record high for infections.
With cases accelerating in Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, the Democratic mayor of the third-largest US city, issued a stay-at-home advisory that will last for 30 days beginning on Monday.
It asks residents to avoid leaving their homes except for work, school, grocery shopping and other trips considered essential. Meetings and social events will be limited to 10 people. Residential gatherings can have a maximum of six non-household members.
“While this is tough — this whole year has been tough — you must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans,” Ms Lightfoot said.
The moves came just two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday and mirrored similar measures taken in other states in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. New York on Wednesday capped social gatherings at private residences and ordered bars, gyms and restaurants with liquor licenses to stop service at 10pm.
Tony Evers, the Democratic governor of Wisconsin, earlier this week signed an executive order urging people to limit travel outside their homes and take other steps to curb the spread of the virus. The Midwestern state has registered more than 2,300 deaths from coronavirus; without additional mitigation, that number could reach 5,000 by January 1, he warned.
Many states have been adding new coronavirus cases at or near record levels in the past few weeks. Hospitalisations and fatalities were also increasing, according to Covid Tracking Project data. In the past week, daily cases have gone up 40 per cent, with 27 states reporting a one-day record for new cases. Deaths have averaged about 1,000 per day in the past week, remaining below an April peak of more than 2,000.
The average number of people in hospital was up 20 per cent, with all but four states — Idaho, West Virginia, Alaska and Hawaii — increasing as of Wednesday, the data showed. The rise was especially acute in Midwestern states, with sharp increases in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.
The rise in cases has prompted some officials to reconsider in-person schooling. Schools in Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, will cease in-person instruction starting on Monday through to at least January 11, city officials announced on Thursday, citing a rapid increase in cases.
New York City will consider stopping all in-person instruction if the city’s infection rate rises above 3 per cent, Bill de Blasio, the city’s mayor, said on Thursday. The current seven-day-average infection rate was 2.6 per cent, he said.
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