U.S. virus cases soaring, hospitalizations hitting records

Health experts and elected officials are raising alarms about climbing Coronavirus cases in the U.S. over the weekend. A Reuters tally found close to 80,000 new cases on Saturday. The day before, the U.S. hit 84,244, a single-day record. Hospitalizations have also hit a two-month high and deaths are trending up. Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said he's worried his city's hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. "We continue to have independent reporting that shows that there is a significant outbreak in Kansas City, but importantly in the regions around us. So while our city has a mask mandate, there are counties all around Missouri and Kansas nearby that do not. A lot of those folks get sick. A lot of those folks have to go to hospitals, and there's hospital space in the cities." He said it was difficult for any one mayor to control the spread without the help of the larger state and country, and urged a nationwide mask mandate to better control the pandemic. But there appears to be zero desire from the Trump administration for any sort of broad restrictions to curb the spread. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday told CNN, "we are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas." Meadows's remarks appear to contrast President Donald Trump's early claims to have the virus "under control." But the president remains optimistic. Campaigning in Wisconsin over the weekend, Trump again downplayed the severity of the outbreak that has killed almost 220,000 Americans, and continued to assert the nation was turning a corner in the health crisis. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS on Sunday direction of the pandemic was clear. "We're entering what's going to be the steep slope of the curve, of the epidemic curve. We know what that looks like, from the spring. We know what that looks like from the summer. These cases are going to continue to build. There's really no backstop here. I don't see forceful policy intervention happening anytime soon." So far in October, 29 states have set records for increases in new cases.