Nov. 15 (UPI) — The United States surpassed 11 million COVID-19 cases on Sunday as Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday it would be beneficial for federal health officials to begin working with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.
Total cases since the start of the pandemic reached 11,000,984, most in the world, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University, after the university’s cumulative case tracker showed the United States added 166,555 new cases on Saturday following a record of more than 184,000 cases the day prior.
The United States also added 1,266 new deaths on Saturday as the world-leading death toll rose to 246,006.
Fauci told CNN’s State of the Union that it would be best for public health if health officials could work with Biden’s team, although President Donald Trump and his administration have not allowed such cooperation as they have contested the results of the presidential election in several states.
“Of course it would be better if we could start working with them,” Fauci said, adding that it has been “several months” since Trump met with the White House coronavirus task force.
Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, stressed the importance of working with an incoming president before they take office.
“I’ve been through multiple transitions now, having served six presidents for 36 years. And it’s very clear that the transition process that we go through … is really important in a smooth handing over of the information as well as it’s almost like passing the baton in a race,” he said. “You don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody, you want to essentially keep going.”
He also said Biden made “an excellent choice” selecting Ron Klain as White House chief of staff, noting that they worked closely coordinating the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak.
“He was absolutely terrific at the Ebola situation where we had a very successful ultimate endgame with Ebola,” said Fauci.
Texas led the nation with 1,014,160 COVID-19 cases and had the second-highest death toll in the United States with 19,470 fatalities as of Saturday.
California surpassed that case total, adding 10,968 infections Sunday for 1,019,345 since the start of the pandemic. The state also reported 35 new deaths for the third-highest death toll at 18,253.
Third-place Florida reported 10,105 new cases, its largest increase since July 25, for a total of 885,201 cases. The state also reported 29 new resident deaths for a total of 17,518, as well as 216 nonresident deaths within the state.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state reported 3,649 new cases for the fourth-highest total in the nation at 560,200, while the state also added 30 new fatalities bringing its death toll to 26,133. Including probable deaths, the toll is 34,016, according to Hopkins.
Illinois added 10,631 new cases for a total of 573,616, ranking fifth in the United States, as well as 72 deaths, bringing its total to 10,742. On Friday, Illinois set a U.S. record with 15,415.