But if earlier surges were defined by acute and concentrated outbreaks — in the Northeast this spring, and in the South during the summer — the virus is now simmering at a worrisome level across nearly the entire country. Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming each set seven-day case records on Tuesday. Even New Jersey, once a model for bringing the virus under control, has seen cases double over the past month…

“We were hoping we had escaped the Covid-19,” Mayor Tim Mahoney of Fargo, a practicing surgeon, said in an interview. “Now we’re just like everybody else in the country. It has hit us with a vengeance.

“We kind of thought we’d outsmart it, and you can’t outsmart this virus.”

In other parts of the country, officials are also returning to another tried-and-true method of containing the virus: stay-at-home orders. On Tuesday, local health officials ordered students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to stay in their residences except for essential activities effective immediately, in an effort to control an escalating community outbreak.