The U.S. has topped 11 million confirmed COVID-19 cases — less than one week after it passed the milestone of 10 million cases. A record 70,000 people are now hospitalized. With the surge affecting every part of the nation, Michael Osterholm, a top adviser on President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, said the U.S. is having “many mini-epidemics.”
States are rolling out new measures to combat the surge. Wisconsin and Chicago have issued new stay-at-home orders. Vermont has barred all gatherings outside of members of the same household. Washington state has also set strict rules on gatherings outside of household members, limited capacity at restaurants, and prohibited indoor service at gyms, museums and movie theaters.
Utah and North Dakota are the latest states to mandate mask wearing. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, where the COVID-19 death rate is among the worst in the world, Governor Kristi Noem, a close Trump ally, has said she would not enforce a mask mandate even if ordered by future President Joe Biden.