PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up across the country. The U.S. is now averaging nearly 48,000 new confirmed cases every day, the highest numbers since mid-August.
The coronavirus also continues to spread in our tri-state region.
After a summer of lower numbers, the Philadelphia region is now experiencing a spike of COVID-19 cases.
Over the weekend, Pennsylvania had the highest one-day total since April and the third-highest one-day total dating back to the start of the pandemic.
The tracking maps and graphs show the coronavirus is making a comeback in the tri-state region.
Pennsylvania is now averaging 1,240 new cases a day — that’s 69% higher than September. In New Jersey, there are 775 new cases daily — 110% higher than last month’s average and Delaware has 127 daily cases, which is 10% higher.
“A lot of folks have sort of gone back to the way things were pre-pandemic, and we’re not out of it. You see sometimes less people wearing masks, more people having gatherings and weddings and social events and we quite frankly let our guard down,” said Dr. Ala Stanford.
Dr. Stanford created the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium in Philadelphia to make testing more accessible in minority communities that have been especially hard hit by the pandemic.
“When there hasn’t been a loss of life, there’s been folks that have been more likely to contract the disease and now have residual symptoms,” Dr. Stanford said.
Most of the new cases are among young people and they could be spreading it to those more vulnerable. Hospital rates are now increasing again.
“Just by looking at someone you cannot tell that they’re infected,” said Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
She says there’s been a large amount of asymptomatic spread which is why testing and contact tracing are so important for containing the spread of the virus.
Dr. Stanford thinks restrictions should be reimposed and her group is putting a new emphasis on flu shots.
“It’s more important than any other year because we are in the midst of the worst pandemic in history,” she said.
The consortium is offering flu shots separately or when people get tested for COVID-19.
Doctors say it’s important to get a flu shot now to be protected against influenza which could make the pandemic even more difficult this winter.