When millions of people went to polling stations in the middle of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic for the 2020 election, the United States reported a record number of new cases.
On Wednesday, the day after the election, the highest single-day rise in infections since the pandemic began was 102,831 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
According to data compiled by the JHU, 1,097 deaths were reported on the same day.
The average daily number of new cases in the U.S. has risen sharply since mid-September. The total number of active cases, i.e. those currently infected, being treated in hospital or recovering at home, also reached a record high of over 3.2 million on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Worldometer.
The seven-day moving average of daily new infections in the country has risen in 40 states, according to the JHU’s latest report from Tuesday, October 20 to November 2.
In the past two weeks, the average number of cases has increased in several key states, including Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to the JHU.
Last Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a member of the U.S. COVID-19 Task Force, told the Washington Post: “We have a lot of suffering ahead of us. It’s not a good situation,” he predicted, “the U.S. would see more than 100,000 new cases per day and rising deaths in the coming weeks.
“All the stars are in the wrong place when you go into the fall and winter seasons and people gather at home in the house. They couldn’t possibly be in a worse position,” he said at the time.
At least 35,930,516 votes were cast in person in this year’s election, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
In the days leading up to the election, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued safety recommendations to voters at the polling stations to help contain the spread of infection when crowds gathered for the election. These included keeping six feet away from other people and wearing a mask.
During the election, several states faced a new debate over mask rules as voters made their way to the polling stations. Most states, even those where face cover is mandatory, chose to recommend that voters wear a mask rather than make it mandatory.
Last month, a Maryland man was arrested after refusing to wear a mask in this year’s election. He has since filed a lawsuit against the local election commission over this incident.
The big picture
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 48.1 million people worldwide, including more than 9.4 million in the United States, since its first report in Wuhan, China.
Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have died as a result of the infection, while according to the JHU, more than 31.9 million are reported to have recovered by Thursday.
The chart below, prepared by Statista, illustrates the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the USA.