The United States tallied a record 83,010 new coronavirus cases Friday as infections climb across much of the country, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project.
The latest surge comes ahead of what’s expected to be an especially dangerous winter for the virus, with hospitalizations already on the rise. More than 41,000 people have been hospitalized with the virus, up nearly 20 percent in the past two weeks, while deaths are also beginning to rise again to a seven-day average of nearly 800 per day.
The virus’ trajectory belies President Donald Trump’s frequent predictions that the pandemic is “rounding the corner,” as he again claimed during the final presidential debate on Thursday. Democratic nominee Joe Biden refuted that notion, predicting the country is headed into a “dark winter.”
Public health experts warn the number of new infections will continue rise during the fall and winter as temperatures fall and people spend more time indoors. Even if a vaccine is authorized before the end of the year, it will likely take months before it can be widely distributed to the public.
“The number of Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is going to continue to grow sharply as we enter the winter; until all of us on our own start taking enough collective action to slow the spread,” Trump’s former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted Friday. “There is no seasonal backstop, and won’t be any new national policy action.”
At least 8.3 million Americans have been infected by the virus since the global pandemic began and nearly 225,000 have died, according to CDC data.
CDC Director Robert Redfield and other government health experts have implored Americans to wear masks, continue to social distance and frequently wash their hands to help prevent spread of the virus.