USA

As US states sound alarm on Covid-19 trends, some communities loosen restrictions

(CNN)Communities across the US are loosening restrictions meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 ahead of a fall and winter season experts warn could be especially challenging.

Florida this week reported a spike in new cases just days after the governor cleared the way for bars and restaurants to fully reopen. In Nevada, the governor bumped the limit on public gatherings from 50 to 250 participants, still not to exceed 50% capacity of a venue.

Wyoming, which last week set a record for new Covid-19 cases, loosened rules around restaurants after the governor said data showed dine-in restaurants have "not significantly contributed" to spread of the virus in the state. And several California counties were given the green light to move into less restrictive tiers of the state's reopening plans, officials said.

The announcements come after the US topped more than 7.1 million infections and more than 205,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
With many social settings moving indoors amid cooler weather and a potentially complicated flu season on the horizon, leading experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have urged communities to continue heeding safety guidelines -- such as wearing masks and social distancing -- and prepare for another rise in infections.

As of early Wednesday, at least 26 states across the US were reporting more new cases than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins. Two of those, New Mexico and North Carolina, are reporting more than a 50% rise in new cases. Only eight states have seen downward trends.

Kentucky governor says rise in cases should be 'wake-up call'

In Kentucky, which saw its second highest daily new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear called the increase a "wake-up call."

"We can't let this thing get out of control again because we're tired," Beshear said in a statement. "I said yesterday I believe we're at the start of a new escalation. We're certainly seeing that in today's numbers."

Experts have said the long months of the pandemic mean the US population is especially tired. Many across the country have given up on avoiding crowds and taking precautions and pushed for a return to normalcy -- a fatigue officials say can be dangerous.

"We've got to work harder," Beshear said. "This is a war and we've won many battles, but we can't walk away from the battlefield."

In Wisconsin, the governor warned Covid-19 cases are "picking up speed" and announced the state reported a single-day high of new cases over the weekend.

"No party, no gathering, no bar is worth it," Gov. Tony Evers said.

In Missouri, healthcare officials say the state now is seeing the "highest hospitalization level" it's experienced since the start of the pandemic.

"What we are seeing now in Missouri is widespread transmission throughout the state," Missouri Hospital Association spokesperson Dave Dillon told CNN. "And those numbers are reflective of the fact that this is moving throughout communities and that it is not under control."

A college student dies after Covid-19 complications

In North Carolina, an Appalachian State University student who was diagnosed with Covid-19 earlier this month has died after suffering later complications, Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts said in a statement.

Covid-19 infections among college-age individuals surged as schools reopened across the US, according to new studies. One study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found between early August and early September, cases among persons aged 18-22 years increased 55% nationally.

The student, Chad Dorrill, returned home and went into isolation after testing positive, Everts said. Dorrill returned to Boone, where the university is located, once he had been cleared by a doctor.

But after his return, Everts said the student suffered "additional complications" and was hospitalized.

"Despite generally being at lower risk for severe illness, college-age adults can become seriously ill from COVID-19," the chancellor said. "We are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in students."

"All of us must remain vigilant with our safety behaviors wherever we are in our community."

Dorrill was living off-campus and taking all of his classes online, according to the chancellor. The university, which started classes last month, offers online, hybrid and face-to-face courses.

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