U.S. Coronavirus Case Count Passes 9 Million
Firefighters and paramedics continue to handle their normal 911 calls and COVID-19 calls in Brooklyn Park, Maryland on Oct. 27, 2020. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise with Johns Hopkins reporting that U.S. cases have increased 41 percent in the last two weeks. ALEX EDELMAN / AFP via Getty Images
The U.S. topped nine million coronavirus cases Thursday as the pandemic continues to rage ten months since the first case was confirmed in January.
Also on Thursday, the country broke its record for the most cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began: at least 89,000 new cases according to The New York Times and more than 91,000 according to City A.M. Together, the two figures suggest the country is no closer to getting the disease under control.
“I think it’s surprising how quickly it happened,” Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine infectious disease expert Dr. Larry Chang told The New York Times. “I thought we would do a better job as a country getting organized and coming up with evidence-based national plans for mitigating this epidemic. So, while I’m not surprised we reached this number, it happened a lot faster than I thought it would.”
The U.S. continues to lead the world in both coronavirus cases and deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The pandemic has claimed nearly 230,000 U.S. lives. However, daily deaths, which tend to lag behind infections, are still much lower than they were in the spring, The New York Times pointed out. They are trending at around 780 a day.
There are several indications that the disease is spreading in the U.S. like never before. The country is averaging 75,000 cases a day, the worst average so far. More than 20 states reported more cases this week than at any other time during the pandemic, and no states reported a steady decline in cases.
Further, 12 states set individual records Thursday for the most new cases recorded, City A.M. reported: Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oregon.
“This surge is larger than any other wave or surges that we’ve seen yet,” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee school of public health epidemiologist Amanda Simanek told The New York Times. “This is the pattern that may continue to happen if we don’t suppress the infection down to levels that are manageable.”
Simanek said she was worried that cases were increasing just as cold weather forced people inside, where the coronavirus spreads more readily.
National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci also warned about the upcoming holiday season. He said new infections were emerging because small groups of families and friends were gathering without masks and without practicing social distancing measures, and these types of get-togethers tend to increase around the holidays.
“We’re going into a precarious situation,” Fauci said, as NBC News reported.
The pandemic in the U.S. has come in three main waves, The New York Times pointed out. In the spring, spikes were concentrated in large Northeastern cities. In the summer, the Sun Belt was the hardest hit. The current surge began in the Upper Midwest and Mountain West weeks ago but has now spread throughout the country to both rural and urban areas, putting a strain on local hospitals.
Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah nurse Dani Beebe told The New York Times she was worried her hospital would not have the staff to tend to patients in the extra beds they had put in. And Wisconsin is running out of both intensive care unit beds and nurses, NBC News reported.
New cases are also surging in several battleground states in the upcoming U.S. election, City A.M. pointed out.
That contest pits President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed the virus and now claims the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, according to NBC News, against former Vice President Joe Biden, who has consistently criticized Trump’s response to the new disease.
One battleground state that saw an uptick in cases was Pennsylvania, which reported its 200,000th case Thursday.
“The news that Pennsylvania has passed the grim milestone of 200,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases is a tragic reminder that President Trump has failed at his most basic and essential duty, to keep American families safe,” Biden said in response, as NBC News reported. “Rather than working to contain the spread of the virus, President Trump continues to peddle the lie that America is rounding the corner on this pandemic.”
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