With election looming, U.S. faces record surge of coronavirus cases

16:35 31/10/2020
A record surge of coronavirus cases in the United States pushed hospitals closer to the brink of capacity and drove the number of infections reported on Friday to an ominous new daily world record of 100,000, four days before the U.S. presidential election.

The United States also documented its 9 millionth case to date on Friday, representing nearly 3% of the population, with almost 229,000 dead since the outbreak of the pandemic early this year, according to a Reuters tally of publicly reported data.

With election looming, U.S. faces record surge of coronavirus cases

With the country facing the final stretch of a tumultuous presidential campaign dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. health authorities on Friday also confirmed that 100,233 more people had tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.

Friday’s tally set a new single-day record in U.S. cases for the fifth time in the past 10 days, surpassing the previous peak of 91,248 new infections posted a day earlier.

It also represented the world’s highest national daily toll during the pandemic, exceeding India’s 24-hour record of 97,894 set in September.

The accelerating pace of U.S. infections continued as data trickled in on Friday, with at least a dozen states individually reporting a record number of new daily cases.

Serious cases of COVID-19 were on the rise as well, as hospitals in six states reported having the most patients suffering from the disease since the pandemic started. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen over 50% in October to 46,000, the highest since mid-August.

Among the hard-hit states are those most hotly contested in the campaign between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, such as Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

More than 1,000 people died of the virus on Thursday, the third time the daily death toll had exceeded that number this month, and the pace of fatalities is expected to continue rising. COVID claimed at least 926 more deaths on Friday.

The University of Washington’s newly updated model projects the death toll, which had been holding at a monthly pace of just over 22,000 for most of October, will start climbing next month toward a new record of more than 72,000 in January.

The January projection by the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation would eclipse the nearly 61,000 fatalities in April when the pandemic first exploded in the United States and overwhelmed hospitals in New York City.

“Our hospitals cannot keep up with Utah’s infection rate. You deserve to understand the dire situation we face,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on Twitter, echoing officials in other states and public health experts.

Reuters