- The number of new coronavirus cases topped 120,000 in the US for the first time on Thursday, a new world record for the country.
- America reached the new milestone less than a week after hitting 100,000 COVID-19 daily cases for the first time.
- Experts fear the number of daily cases will continue to rise, as it’s unclear what this new wave’s peak will be.
For the third in just a week, America broke the world record of daily coronavirus infections. The country registered over 120,000 infections on Thursday (Johns Hopkins) or over 115,000 cases (Coronavirus App). There is some variance between trackers, with John Hopkins usually delivering a more conservative number. Still, either figure is a new world record, topping Wednesday’s stats by up to 18,000 cases. The country reached the 100,000 milestone on Friday, breaking India’s previous world record that dated back to mid-September. Milestones aside, the increasing number of cases indicates that community transmission is very high, and the actual number of infections is probably significantly higher than the number of confirmed cases. The more people contract the virus, the higher the percentage of them that needs hospitalization, and the higher the number of fatalities.
Health experts have warned for months that COVID-19 can get out of control during the fall and winter, saying that the curve had to be flattened during the summer to avoid nightmare scenarios once the cold sets in. The virus survives just as well in the summer heat, but the colder weather is pushing more people inside. And most infections occur in indoor places, especially the home, where people tend not to respect health precautions, having a false sense of security. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who predicted that the nation could hit 100,000 daily new cases in winter, advised people to wear masks at home if they’re not sure whether others are infected and air their homes frequently. That’s on top of respecting all the other known COVID-19 safety measures.
The US isn’t alone in experiencing a massive surge of cases during this new wave. Various European nations are battling their own second wave, dealing with massive numbers of infections. But several states have already imposed stricter measures, including softer lockdowns that allow the economy and schools to function while limiting other activities. France, Germany, the UK, and other EU states have announced or are about to implement new restrictions.
Whether it’s the US or the EU, the worry from health experts is the same. The more people get infected, the harder it will be to treat all the patients who require hospitalizations. Most people can recover from COVID-19 at home. Asymptomatic and moderate cases will not require hospitalization. But those people who experience severe complications, especially respiratory issues, will need immediate attention and advanced care that includes oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation. Some COVID-19 therapies, like remdesivir, blood thinners, and plasma transfusions, are only available in medical facilities.
Our daily update is published. States reported record numbers of tests (1.5 million) and cases (116k). Hospitalizations continue their sharp rise. The death toll was 1,124. pic.twitter.com/z3gxwP6EaC
— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) November 6, 2020
As more people flood ER rooms and take over ICU beds because of COVID-19 complications, hospitals risk collapsing. This further increases the risks for people who suffer from other medical conditions that might need similar care. The strain on resources doesn’t concern just beds, PPE, other supplies and drugs, but also healthcare personnel. Doctors and nurses aren’t immune to COVID-19 and risk infection, especially considering the constant exposure to coronavirus patients.
The number of deaths topped 1,200 (Johns Hopkins), with CNN providing a slightly lower estimate: 1,187. That marks a 20% increase compared to last Thursday. While doctors can save more COVID-19 patients compared to March and April, the more people get infected, the higher the death toll will be. Also, a hospitalized patient might need weeks to recover. Once beds are taken, others who could be saved might risk not getting access to medical assistance.
Overall, the US has topped 9.6 million cases as of Friday morning, nearly 1.2 million more cases than India, which has four times the population. India is on a descending path at the moment, registering nearly 48,000 cases on Thursday. The world is nearing 49 million cases and over 1.23 million deaths. Of those, nearly 235,000 people died in the US so far this year.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases will likely continue to rise significantly in the US and Europe soon. America is likely to beat its Thursday’s record, as it’s too early to tell what the peak of this wave will be and when the number of cases will start dropping.