Though it’s too soon to tell what impact Thanksgiving travel and gatherings will have on covid-19 transmission, the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge all over the United States, with experts warning that our daily death toll may very well double before the year is up.
The country reported over 205,000 new cases on Friday, CNN reports, though that alarmingly high data point is likely due to the fact that at least 20 states waited to report Thursday numbers until Friday due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The stats since then have been no less alarming, however: Saturday saw at least 138,000 new infections, marking the 26th straight day in which the U.S. recorded more than 100,000 new cases.
Death tolls are rising as well, The New York Times reports, with more than 2,000 deaths in a single day reported this week for the first time since the first wave of the pandemic in May. More than 265,000 people have died of covid in the U.S. thus far, with over 13 million cases total.
With infection, hospitalization, and death rates all rising, states are imposing new orders and restrictions in an effort to curb transmission; the governors of Iowa and North Dakota are now ordering state residents to wear masks, per the Times, and officials have enacted curfews in Ohio and much of California. Unfortunately, experts still expect these stats to rise.
“The vaccines will make a big difference in the spring and the summer,” Leana Wen, an emergency medicine physician and visiting professor at George Washington University, told CNN this weekend. “They’re not going to make a difference right now.”
Wen expects the American daily death toll to jump to 3,000 or perhaps even 4,000 deaths per day in the coming weeks. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University who spoke to CNN earlier in the week, offered similarly grim predictions.
“If anything, we are rounding the corner into a calamity,” Wen said.