• The U.S. is reeling from its latest spike in COVID-19 cases, again after another national holiday that saw people gather in large groups
  • Cases are on the rise in 21 states
  • The U.S. now has 7.1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 204,033 deaths

Public health experts predict a surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter as confirmed cases in 21 states jumped to discomfiting highs over the weekend, two weeks after Labor Day and a month after schools began reopening.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States jumped by more than 10% compared to the week before in 21 states based on data from Johns Hopkins University, said CNN.

Cases are on the rise in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington State, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eighteen states are reporting steady case counts. Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire reported decreases in new cases of more than 10% compared to last week.

On Saturday, Wisconsin reported 2,817 new cases, its highest single-day increase. The previous record was 2,533 cases on September 18, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

On September 4, the day before the Labor Day weekend began, there were 6.2 million total cases and 187,052 deaths in the U.S. As of September 27, these numbers had risen to 7.1 million cases and 204,033 deaths, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The U.S. might also be in for an explosion of COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter, according to Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Murray told CNN the surge will be triggered by people spending more time indoors during the cooler seasons where there is a greater likelihood of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.

The latest IHME statistical model predicts a "huge surge" in October, which will accelerate in November and December.

The IHME model predicts daily deaths might skyrocket to 3,000 by late December from the 800 daily deaths today. The U.S. averages some 40,000 daily cases, the largest number in the world.

The fall season in the Northern Hemisphere began September 21 while winter is due to arrive December 21.

SARS-CoV-2 Scanning Electron Microscope Image
SARS-CoV-2 emerging from the surface of cells. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), are repeatedly warning Americans to be more careful in the fall and winter and to wear face masks.

Redfield also warned the fall and winter might be "one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health." Fauci said fall and winer will make COVID-19 more challenging.

Redfield, Fauci and other leading public health experts continue top urge Americans to wear face masks and to follow the three basic life-saving guidelines: wear masks, avoid crowded places and wash their hands regularly.

The Midwest and South were the epicenters of the coronavirus surge early this month. Both regions were expected to be hard hit after the three day Labor Day weekend ending September 7 saw people gathering in large numbers.

During the first week of this month, the epicenters of the disease were states in the Midwest and South, which saw the largest new daily cases in the country. They were among the almost two dozen states that reported surges in COVID-19 cases after more than 365,000 people showed-up from Aug. 7 to 16 at the 80th Annual 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Reuters, which is also tracking the spread of the coronavirus, said most of the 22 states where cases were rising at the time are in the Midwest and South. On a percentage basis, South Dakota reported the largest increase over the past two weeks at 126%.