At least 161,323 people in prisons around the U.S. had tested positive for COVID-19 by Tuesday, a five percent increase from the week before, report The Marshall Project and the Associated Press. There have been at least 1,320 deaths from coronavirus reported among prisoners. The number of new infections reached its second-highest level since the start of the pandemic, 400 cases under the peak in early August. This week’s rise in cases was driven by big jumps in prisoners testing positive in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas and New York, as well as outbreaks in Arkansas, Michigan and Minnesota.
Reported cases first peaked in late April, when states including Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas began mass testing of prisoners. That suggested that coronavirus had been circulating among people without symptoms in much greater numbers than previously known. Some 126,232 prisoners have recovered. The first known COVID-19 death of a prisoner was in Georgia when Anthony Cheek died on March 26. Cheek, 49, had been held in Lee State Prison near Albany, a hot spot for the disease.By Oct. 27, the total number of deaths had risen by three percent in a week.