US passes single-day record for new COVID-19 cases

Source: The Hill | October 23, 2020 | Tal Axelrod

The U.S. set a new record for new coronavirus cases in a single day Friday as the country undergoes an alarming new surge in infections. 

According to the COVID Tracking Project’s tally, there were more than 83,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country Friday, surpassing the U.S.’s past record of 75,687 on July 16. About 1.3 million tests were conducted Friday. 

The alarming milestone comes as experts warn that the pandemic could continue to worsen in the coming months as the weather gets colder and people stay indoors, where the virus is more easily spread.

The number of hospitalizations for the coronavirus across the country has spiked 40 percent in the past month, and while the death rate has remained stable, that figure tends to lag behind increases in cases. 

The most significant spikes are taking place in the Midwest and West. California saw more than 6,000 new cases Friday, while Wisconsin saw more than 4,600 new cases, and Michigan and Pennsylvania saw more than 2,000 new cases each. And with so many states experiencing surges, experts warn a national spike is inevitable.

“We still have tens of thousands of known cases, probably hundreds of thousands of actual cases, happening every day, and what that means is that we have a tremendous number of small little outbreaks ready to burst,” Michael Mina, assistant professor at Harvard’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, told The Hill earlier this month.

New cases began rising in September, which experts say could have been caused by school reopenings, Labor Day festivities and overall lax following of guidelines regarding social distancing and mask-wearing.

The milestone also comes less than two weeks before Election Day, and while there has been a historic rise in mail-in and early voting, millions of Americans are still expected to gather at polling places to cast their ballots on Nov. 3. 

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