Coronavirus spreading more rapidly in Midwest now than New York in March, KU doctor says

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Midwest region is currently experiencing a higher rate of coronavirus spread than New York in March, which was at the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring.

That’s according to Dr. David Wild, anesthesiologist and vice president of performance improvement at the University of Kansas Health System.

“All regions are trending up, which is consistent with the national data we’ve seen. The Midwest continues to be the most active region for spread with a peak of 350 cases per million on average per day, which is higher again than New York in March or the south in July and August,” Dr. Wild said.

The scene in the Midwest is certainly different than those earlier days of the pandemic. New York’s experience with rapid spread and little information on how to treat sick patients resulted in high rates of death, to the point where bodies had to be loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift.

Currently, the U.S. rate of death is 2.6% of all positive cases, much lower than previously recorded percentages and less than many other countries currently. Mexico has the highest rates of death at 10%

Dr. Wild also said that not as many people are on ventilators due to better treatments. That means that there are no ventilator shortages.

However, health systems are reporting higher numbers of hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19. Health professionals in St. Louis made an emotional plea Oct. 26, describing worn down frontline workers struggling to keep up.

“We’re seeing hospitalizations at or near the peak numbers for many states,” Wild said.

The trends come from data showing the seven day averages by region and by state. Some of the most active states in the Midwest are Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. North Dakota and Utah have also risen drastically.

“And a slope of that line that is not showing any change,” Wild said. “It’s not slowing down. It’s not decreasing.”

The conversation on coronavirus rates starts in the video at 10:50.

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