“We obviously hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different and more dire place today, and our healthcare systems are being overwhelmed,” Evers said.
Other state leaders say they’re not trailing far behind.
Other states, including Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming have all seen record-high hospitalization numbers in the past days.
At least half of US states, scattered across the Midwest and Northeast, are reporting more new cases than the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins. Only two states — Alabama and Hawaii — report a decline of cases.
State leaders take new measures
Some US leaders have pushed new measures hoping to curb the spread of the virus. In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said the state is seeing the third major escalation of cases and his mask mandate would be renewed for another 30 days.
Wisconsin also issued a new order earlier this week limiting public gatherings. And in New York, the governor announced restrictions for areas where Covid-19 clusters were occurring — including closing schools and limiting crowds at houses of worship.
Clusters of Covid-19 cases in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and outlying New York City suburbs of Rockland and Orange counties alarmed officials in the city, where schools reopened for in-person classes last week. The clusters are in areas with large Orthodox Jewish populations, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has blamed the outbreaks in part on a lack of mask-wearing in the community.
A northern California county also reimposed stronger restrictions this week after more than 160 students and staff linked to an evangelical college tested positive for the virus, health officials said. Shasta County was moved this week to a more restrictive tier in the state’s reopening plan, indicating “substantial” spread of the virus. The move means some non-essential indoor businesses, like bars that do not serve food, will have to close their operations. The growing spread of the virus has also forced nearby Tehama County to move to a more restrictive tier.
Sick people need to stay home, WHO official says
Despite the grim outlook for the next several months, experts have long said there are ways to hold down the virus until a vaccine becomes available.
“If people who were sick stayed at home, and were supported in doing that, and if their contacts stayed at home, and were supported in doing that, we could break the back of this disease,” Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization executive director of Health Emergencies Programme, said this week.
“We keep avoiding that elephant in the room,” Ryan said during a social media Q&A on Wednesday.
Ryan said sometimes, countries “face no choice,” when it comes to lockdowns.
The lockdowns have consequences, he said, “but this is not a no-consequence effort, we need to find that balance … between stopping this disease, giving us the time to develop the measures we need to save lives,” Ryan said.
CNN’s Amanda Watts, Gisela Crespo and Sarah Moon contributed to this report.