The USA reached another cruel pandemic milestone on Thursday: for the first time since the COVID 19 outbreak began in the country in January, the number of deaths reported in a single day exceeded the 3,000 mark.
The Associated Press reported that more than 3,100 COVID-19 deaths were reported on Thursday. The day before, the U.S. surpassed the previous record of daily deaths reported in spring with 2,885 deaths from the virus confirmed on Wednesday, up from the previous daily high of 2,752 on April 15.
Meanwhile, hospital admissions due to COVID-19 and infections have increased sharply in recent weeks. The number of Americans hospitalized for the virus has exceeded 100,000 for the first time, and the average number of new daily cases last week was over 160,000. Public health experts expect the situation to worsen, especially as people travel on vacation and the colder winter weather encourages people to gather indoors.
Talking to ABC News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, predicted on Sunday this week at Thanksgiving that “there is almost certainly going to be an uptick in the numbers because of what is happening on the road”. During the latest holiday, the U.S. recorded its highest level of air travel since the spring, when the pandemic began to spread rapidly.
“We may be seeing one increase after another. We don’t want to scare people, but this is simply the reality,” warned Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The United States still has the highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths of any country in the world. By Thursday afternoon, the United States had reported more than 14 million infections and nearly 275,000 deaths, according to the New York Times tracker. In several states, triple-digit daily death charges are regularly levied. Michigan reported 175 new deaths on Thursday, while Illinois confirmed 192 and Pennsylvania saw 187.
Although the news of outstanding vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer is very promising as the vaccines from both companies are expected to be approved by the FDA in the coming weeks, they will not be widely available to the American public until sometime this spring. The first millions of doses – expected to be available in the coming weeks – will initially be used to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers.
Many public health experts have also expressed great concern about the large percentage of Americans who are skeptical about the vaccines. In a new survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, nearly 40 percent of respondents said they would probably or definitely not receive a vaccine against COVID-19. To boost national confidence in the vaccines, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have agreed to be vaccinated in front of the cameras. President Donald Trump’s daughter and his advisor Ivanka Trump also said she was willing to do the same.
Washington Newsday turned to the White House for comments on the record number of COVID-19 deaths, but did not receive an immediate response.