The U.S. just set a coronavirus record for new daily cases (again)—and it might get even worse (updated)

us coronavirus record
Photo via Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The United States set a daily record for new coronavirus cases on Oct. 29 and on Oct. 30—and the grim milestone could be a harbinger of increased cases and deaths over the next few months.

Johns Hopkins University reported 88,521 new cases on Oct. 29, CNN reported, a jump of 9,540 cases from the new case count the day before. On Oct. 30, that number jumped to more than 99,000, bringing the total case count since the pandemic started to more than 9.05 million cases. The 971 COVID-related deaths on Oct. 29 brought that tally to 228,677 as the pandemic may be entering a third wave in the U.S.

On Nov. 4, the U.S. surpassed the 100,000 mark for new coronavirus cases, setting a new record.

Nine states reported their highest daily number for new cases: Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Ohio. Sixteen more states reported their highest daily number on Oct. 30. This comes just days before a presidential election where coronavirus, and the government’s response to it, has become the central issue.

As Reuters pointed out in its coverage of the new U.S. coronavirus record, “Among the hardest hit by the latest COVID-19 surge are hotly contested states such as Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.” The article also noted that the current number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, around 46,000, represents a 50% rise during the month of October, reaching its highest level since mid-August.

The case number was expected to reach the 9 million mark before the end of October—as the Washington Post observed, the U.S. was at 8 million cases just 15 days prior.

While testing is at an all-time high, that doesn’t account for the recent exponential rise in cases, according to The Atlantic. Its article noted that while the U.S. registered a record number of tests, at 8.2 million, case growth outpaced test growth 24% to 9%. A further breakdown of the data showed 47 states, plus Washington D.C., saw cases rise faster than reported tests since Oct. 1.

Projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington warn that the coming numbers could dwarf the current record-setting and record-approaching totals.

They predict that by the middle of January, 2,250 Americans will die each day from the coronavirus, about three times more than the current rate.

The IHME also warned if states do not react to rising numbers by re-imposing mandates, cumulative deaths in the U.S. could surpass the 500,000 mark in January.

“The fall/winter surge should lead to a daily death toll that is approximately three times higher than now by mid-January,” the institute warned. “Hospital systems, particularly ICUs, are expected to be under extreme stress in December and January in 18 states.”

Sources: CNN, Reuters, Washington Post, The Atlantic

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