US sets new record for average daily coronavirus cases
The United States set a record Sunday for new coronavirus cases averaged over a seven-day period, as cases march steadily upward.
The average new cases per day over a seven-day period was 68,954 on Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, beating the previous record of 66,844 set on July 23.
The country has now passed the July peak, and there is no end in sight as the weather gets colder and more activity moves indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.
The country also set a one-day record Friday with more than 83,000 cases.
The new spike in positive cases, the largest since the pandemic began, comes as President Trump continues to downplay the virus as Election Day nears.
The president blamed the rise in cases on an increase in testing in a tweet Monday. “Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST,” Trump wrote. “A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!”
However, hospitalizations are also rising, a sign that the rise in cases is not just because of more testing. There are more than 41,000 people hospitalized with coronavirus, up from around 30,000 at the end of September.
The percentage of tests coming back positive is also rising, another sign of the rising spread of the virus. It is now at about 6 percent nationally and climbing, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said Sunday that the administration did not even have the goal of getting the pandemic under control.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he said on CNN. “We are gonna control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”
There is no vaccine yet available, though progress is being made at a rapid pace, and while there are therapeutics that help to some degree, they are far from a cure for the disease.
Hospitals are in danger of becoming overwhelmed in some areas such as Utah and Wisconsin.
“We have one more cycle to get through with this,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Monday on CNBC. “I know people are exhausted. It’s been very hard on families, and on individuals, on businesses especially, but we really have two or three months of the acute phase of this pandemic to get through.”
Like many other experts, Gottlieb called for states to impose mask mandates, and said while large-scale lockdowns are not feasible, “targeted mitigation steps,” such as closing or restricting bars and restaurants, can help reverse the spiking cases.
“This is going to be the hardest phase probably,” Gottlieb said.