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BREAKING: Georgia passes 7,000 coronavirus deaths

By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

Georgia recorded more than 7,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, according to the latest figures released by the state Department of Public Health.

The figures show 7,021 deaths and 318,026 confirmed cases of the deadly virus in Georgia. The state recorded 29 new deaths overnight, pushing the total death toll past another grim milestone. There are 28,522 hospitalizations and 5,269 ICU admissions in Georgia.

The state passed 6,000 deaths over Labor Day weekend, a mere two weeks after it recorded 5,000 COVID-19 fatalities.

Last week, the U.S. recorded more than 200,000 coronavirus deaths, a number that remains the world’s highest.

Over the weekend, the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, which has been tracking the pandemic across the globe.

More than 33 million cases have been confirmed around the world; the U.S. leads all nations in the number of cases — more than 7.1 million — and more than 205,000 dead. India is second in the number of cases, at more than 6 million, but Brazil is second in the number of deaths, at more than 142,000.

A CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University of Medicine data shows 21 states are reporting rising COVID-19 cases, but Georgia is one of 11 states registering decreases in new cases of more than 10%, compared to the week prior.

As of Sunday, the number of new coronavirus cases has increased by at least 10% or more compared to the week before in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eighteen states were holding steady, while Georgia, along with Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire reported those decreases.

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida, and banned local fines against people who refuse to wear masks as he seeks to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus.

As cooler weather approaches, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is warning of a possible COVID-19 surge. The CDC is recommending trick-or-treaters stay at home this year, as many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for “spreading” the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned Americans to “hunker down this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy.”

The pandemic will also soon be stacked on top of flu season. In July, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said “the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health.”

Last week, Redfield told a Senate panel in Washington, D.C., more than 90% of the U.S. population remain susceptible to the deadly pandemic.

The coronavirus is also increasingly infecting American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears fueled by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities.

Children of all ages now make up 10% of all U.S cases, up from 2% in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.

On Monday, the CDC said the incidence of COVID-19 in school-age children began rising in early September as many youngsters returned to their classrooms.