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Health News

COVID-19 surges in U.S. Midwest, Broadway dark until June

CHICAGO (Reuters) - COVID-19 shattered records for new cases in the U.S. Midwest, straining hospitals, and will darken New York’s Broadway theaters until June, a decision the Actors’ Equity Association union called “difficult but responsible.”

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The Broadway closure that began in March had been due to end in early January until the Broadway League industry group announced the extension on Friday.

A dozen Midwestern states together reported a record 16,807 new cases on Thursday, according to a Reuters analysis. The surge is most extreme in the northern Midwest, where weather is the coldest. Illinois reported its biggest increase since May 14 on Thursday.

(Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/3d9OAoF)

The number of Midwest COVID-19 patients hospitalized hit a record high on Thursday for the fourth day in a row and now tops 8,000. Nationally, nearly 34,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized, the highest since Sept. 4.

(Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/3lwVO9f)

Michigan’s hospitalizations reached 918 on Thursday, up from 687 the previous day. Wisconsin is opening a field hospital outside Milwaukee with the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized hitting a new record on Thursday.

While deaths nationally decline, health experts say they are a lagging indicator that usually rises weeks after cases surge.

Cases are rising in New York, a city that early in the pandemic endured the world’s most rampant outbreak. To curb a second wave, the city has closed businesses and schools in neighborhood hot spots, drawing protests from a small contingent of Orthodox Jews.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state has been steadily creeping up from the middle to upper 400s last month to 779 on Thursday, while the infection rate, which had been below 1% for most of the late summer was above 1.1% this week.

But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said one-fifth of the state’s infections are in a handful of “red zones” that account for only 2.8% of the population. Excluding those areas, where infection rates were 6.6% the state’s rate was 0.9%, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who began a three-day hospital stay a week ago with his own COVID-19 infection, is set to resume his re-election campaign on Saturday by addressing supporters from the balcony of the White House.

The president’s campaign schedule ramps up with a rally at an airport in central Florida on Monday.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would resume talks on a possible economic stimulus package with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday, but Senate Republicans voiced doubts that a deal can be reached before the election.

Reporting by Lisa Shumaker; additional reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason in Washington, DC, Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Barbara Goldberg and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski, Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman

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