Healthcare

US COVID-19 cases reach past 13 million

The number of coronavirus infections in the United States surpassed 13 million on Friday, just six days after the country hit the 12 million threshold. 

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has had at least 13,047,202 infections, with at least 264,624 people dead as a result of the virus. 

The U.S. maintains the lead for the country with the most total coronavirus infections, followed by India at approximately 9.3 million, Brazil with 6.2 million and France with 2.2 million. 

On Nov. 21, Johns Hopkins University recorded that the U.S. had topped 12 million cases, just another six days after the country reached a total of 11 million. 

The U.S. on Friday also reached a new high of more than 90,000 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 - a record-breaking number for the 17th day in a row, according to the COVID Tracking Project

Out of those hospitalized, 17,802 people are in the intensive care unit, which is the highest amount documented during the pandemic. A total of 5,979 people are on ventilators. 

The rapid increase in infections across the country come as experts warn of more spikes as we head into the winter months, forcing many Americans inside where the virus is able to more easily spread. 

Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has said that cases are likely to remain high or continue to increase through December, January and February. 

"If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up ... I don't see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year's holidays than during Thanksgiving," Fauci told USA Today. 

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, public health experts and elected officials had warned citizens against traveling and gathering with people outside their immediate household. 

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised against attending crowded parades, large indoor gatherings and crowded stores in an effort to slow the outbreak. The agency also advised against traveling last week as cases rose nationwide.

However, a Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday found that 57 percent of registered voters surveyed planned on attending a gathering for Thanksgiving, although just 23 percent said they would meet with family and friends "as normal." 

In his Thanksgiving proclamation issued Wednesday, President Trump challenged the advice of public health experts by calling on Americans to gather "in homes and places of worship" for the holiday.

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