The United States reached an alarming milestone in its failed pandemic response on Wednesday: A daily count of new coronavirus cases reached more than 100,000 for the first time. But the record was short-lived. Today, Thursday, new cases surpassed 116,000.
The country’s third peak in cases now towers above the one before it, with peaks of daily new cases no higher than about 76,500. It’s unclear how high the new peak will eventually get, but it’s likely another terrifying record will be hit on Friday.
Overall, the country has seen a 20 percent increase in cases since last week, according to The COVID Tracking Project. While almost every state in the country is seeing the number of cases increase to some degree, the areas propelling the rise are the Midwest and the Mountain West. In fact, the current number of cases per capita in the Midwest is far above that of any other region during the pandemic, the project notes in a blog post Thursday.
In particular, the number of cases in Wisconsin and Illinois is skyrocketing. Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio also all set new records for one-day cases in the past week. As for the western states, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming are all seeing continued increases over their smaller populations.
With the vertical rise in the number of cases comes increases in hospital admissions. Nationally, more than 53,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, up 13.5 percent from last week. Hospital admissions are rising in line with places where the number of cases is increasing.
While spikes in deaths typically lag spikes by several weeks, deaths are already increasing. More than 1,100 deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the seven-day moving daily average to 869. Just over 6,007 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus pandemic since last Wednesday, an 8 percent increase from the number of deaths the week before.
Public health experts have sounded the alarm on the country’s devastating third peak, which comes as the weather turns cold and we enter a series of holidays celebrated with large gatherings. In an interview last week, Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert, told The Washington Post: “We are in a lot of pain. It’s not a good situation. All the stars are misaligned as you enter the fall and winter seasons, with people congregating indoors. You can’t position yourself worse.”