November 13, 2020 at 12:25 AM EST
‘Catastrophic’ lack of hospital beds in Upper Midwest as coronavirus cases surge
By Annie Gowen and Holly Bailey
Covid’s long, dark winter has already arrived in the Upper Midwest, as cases and deaths surge, snatching lives, overwhelming hospitals, exhausting health-care providers and raising fears that the region’s medical system will be completely overwhelmed in the coming days.
As coronavirus cases grow exponentially across the United States — up 70 percent on average in the past two weeks, with an average of 130,000 cases per day nationally — the situation is particularly acute now in the Upper Midwest and Plains states, with North and South Dakota leading the nation in new cases and deaths per capita over the past week, according to Washington Post data.
Experts say that cases are surging in the region as the weather has turned colder and more people are forced inside — into poorer-ventilated indoor spaces where transmission thrives — with the virus arriving even in remote areas in largely conservative states where Republican leaders have resisted mask mandates or business closures, asking their residents to rely instead on personal responsibility.