What may have seemed like a ridiculously high prediction weeks ago has turned into reality — and much faster than health experts expected.

“I was predicting just a week or two ago we’d hit 100,000 (new cases a day). I didn’t imagine it would be already there,” said William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor and chair of ACCESS Health International, a global health think tank.

The US just reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections in a single day — 102,831 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

And it’s not just due to more testing. New cases have increased 21% over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins. But testing has only increased only 4.52% over the past week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

As hospitalizations and deaths surge, some officials are enacting new rules to try to control the virus’ spread.

16 states set new records for hospitalizations

Covid-19 hospitalizations reached all-time highs in 16 states Wednesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

“Our number of hospitalized people goes up every day. These are a lot of Kentuckians who are fighting for their lives,” Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday.

“There’s a lot of pain out there and it’s hitting everybody.”

The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Steven Stack, said he’s concerned “not that we will first run out of bed space but that we may not have enough health care workers to staff all those beds.”

Kansas is suffering another “very difficult week for virus spread” — especially with rising hospitalizations, Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday.

Last week, the closest available ICU bed to one rural hospital was about a six-hour drive away, Kelly said.

Across the US, more than 52,000 people are hospitalized Wednesday with coronavirus, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

And at least 1,097 new Covid-19 deaths were reported Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins. That’s a 23.71% increase from four weeks ago, when the US averaged 696 coronavirus deaths per day.

In just 10 months, more than 9.4 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 233,000 have died.

The battle over a shutdown

El Paso, Texas, reached a record-high number of hospitalizations Wednesday, with at least 1,041 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the city.

Coronavirus is spreading so rampantly in El Paso County that a fourth mobile morgue was headed to the area this week.

County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, the top government official in the county, ordered a two-week shutdown of all nonessential services last week. Without such measures, he said, “we will see unprecedented levels of deaths.”

But the Texas attorney general said his office has filed a motion for a temporary injunction to stop the judge’s “unlawful lockdown order, which flies in the face of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders on COVID-19.”

Abbott said Samaniego “illegally” shut down businesses. He said the county judge “made it clear that he had not been enforcing existing protocols allowed under law” that could help curb the virus “while allowing businesses to safely open.”

From curfews to mask mandates to crowd control, other state and local officials are scrambling to control Covid-19 during what doctors say will be the worst surge yet.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a stay-at-home advisory earlier this week that will be going into effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Baker also announced new restrictions around gatherings and a new closing time for indoor facilities, theaters and other venues.

Connecticut announced new capacity limits on restaurants, religious ceremonies and indoor event spaces.

Gov. Ned Lamont also recommended residents stay home between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit the spread through social gatherings — a primary source of infection during this fall surge.

Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Vietnam veteran Robert Ingram, 74, on West Broad Street adjusts a face mask in downtown Sparta, Ga., Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Ingram says "I think it's more than serious. It's a matter of life and death is what it is" of the town hit hard by COVID-19. Ingram's aunt survived coronavirus at Sparta Health and Rehab where multiple residents have died.(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

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