PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the United States are on the rise again, and cases are climbing in nearly every state, including in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. COVID-19 is now widespread across our region.

There were renewed warnings again Monday about virus fatigue and too many people not taking precautions.

The top health official in Pennsylvania today said people should rethink the upcoming holidays and make plans virtually or only with the family you’re living with.

“It’s really all segments of the population that are increasing and in all regions of Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

She says there have been over 1,000 COVID-19 cases a day in Pennsylvania for 21 days, a concerning trend, with the state’s positivity rate now at 5%. That’s the benchmark number indicating a troubling level of community spread.

“We have seen an increasing number of cases linked to small gatherings of people who may even be familiar with each other but no they’re not masking, they’re not washing their hands, they’re not social distancing,” Levine said.

It’s a similar situation in New Jersey where there have been over 1,000 cases a day in the past nine days. The positivity rate is now up to 4.4%.

“We’re in a tough spot right now, there’s just no other way to put it,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy is doing briefings virtually, out an abundance of caution, as he and his wife have continued to test negative for the virus after at least two staffers tested positive.

The surge of COVID cases in New Jersey is mainly happening in the northern part of the state.

“We do know there has been pandemic fatigue, a relaxation of some of the safeguarding which has caused a general increase in cases,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

New Jersey officials outlined their vaccine distribution plan when one’s available and officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey say contact tracing has been difficult because many people are refusing to cooperate.

“I think the contact tracing refusal to pick up, is folks not wanting to rat people out, including maybe their own kids, or somebody’s restaurant they were in,” Murphy said.

Also, hospital rates are up in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania but treatments are better.

Fewer patients are being put on ventilators and therapeutics like remdesivir and steroids are improving patient outcomes.


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