Oct. 30 (UPI) — The United States has added close to 90,000 new COVID-19 cases — the most ever for a single day — and the nation’s top diseases expert says there’s “a whole lot of pain” to come unless things change, and quickly.
Updated data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday showed an addition of 88,500 cases for Thursday, the most for one day in the United States since the virus arrived early this year.
Thursday’s number was an increase of almost 10,000 cases. The previous highs, about 84,000 cases, were seen last weekend. There were also about 1,000 new deaths, the data showed.
The dramatic spike has pushed the U.S. case total close to the 9 million mark. About 228,700 people have died nationwide since the start of March, according to Johns Hopkins. There have been close to 550,000 new cases and 5,600 deaths in the United States in the past week alone.
Hospitalizations are up almost 50% this month, according to the COVID-19 Tracking Project.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the trajectory of this new surge in cases will lead to many more deaths this winter.
“If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s going to be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations, and deaths,” Fauci told CNBC.
“We are on a very difficult trajectory,” he said. “We are going in the wrong direction.”
Fauci and numerous other health experts have been saying for weeks that the data wasn’t looking good for the colder months, when more people gather indoors and spread the coronavirus. He said the greatest impact will probably hit the Midwest and Northwest, where health facilities are less equipped to handle large surges in cases.
Again, Fauci underscored that wearing masks, distancing and following all health guidelines is the best formula to defeat the pandemic.
Several states have set new case records in recent days. Illinois surpassed two all-time highs this week alone.
State health officials say cases have risen more than 150%, deaths more than 80% and hospitalizations more than 70% since the start of October.
“We have a real problem on our hands and people’s lives hang in the balance,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters, defending his decision to ban indoor dining in suburban Chicago.
“If you look at the literally more than a dozen international and national studies that have been done, you’ll understand that bars and restaurants are spreading locations.”
Ohio also set a new record for cases in a single day and Gov. Mike DeWine declared “there’s no place to hide.”
Ohio also recorded its highest level of hospitalizations, with about a quarter of those patients in intensive care.
“We always rally when we need to rally and I’m confident people will do that,” DeWine added.
“We can, in fact, slow down this invader. The decisions each Ohioan makes each day will really determine what kind of winter we may have.”