The US reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday – the highest single day number of cases recorded for any country. The United States’ top five records in daily cases all occurred within eight days, and an expert says he worries the upward trend will push hospitals past capacity.
Friday’s number surpassed the previous daily record held by India, which reported 97,894 coronavirus cases in a single day on September 17, according to India’s health ministry.
As of Saturday evening, there have been 71,931 new Covid-19 cases across the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 659 deaths were also reported.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the US reached at least 9.1 million and the nation’s death toll from the pandemic topped 230,000 on Saturday.
“The 100,000 cases yesterday two weeks from now will start to translate into massive numbers of deaths,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN Saturday. “So we’re going to see not just cases continue to escalate but we’re going to see perhaps 2,000 deaths per day two or three weeks from now.”
Iowa on Friday reported its highest single day increase of new cases. That means 31 states have had at least one record high day of new cases in October, Johns Hopkins data show.
At least 47,374 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals on Saturday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That’s up 65.6% from a three-month low of 28,608 on September 20, and it’s the highest total since mid-August.
This month, hospitalizations decreased in Georgia and Hawaii while California’s hospitalizations held steady. Every other state and the District of Columbia saw increases, the Covid Tracking Project showed.
Former health official warns of new lockdowns
Former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said Saturday the US has a narrow window of time before more drastic measures like mandatory lockdowns will have to be considered.
“We are seeing Covid-19 hotspots raging all over the country and right now we have an opportunity to implement targeted measures like universal mask wearing, like making sure that high risk businesses like bars in certain areas are shut down, like instructing the public that we should be avoiding social gatherings of extended family and friends,” she told CNN.
“But if we don’t do these things now, we’re going to be overwhelming our health systems and then a lock down may be necessary.”
In Florida, health officials reported 2,331 new cases on Saturday – the 12th consecutive day with over 2,000 cases, according to a CNN tally.
To date, Florida has recorded 802,547 coronavirus cases, 16,761 resident deaths and 208 non-resident deaths, according to state health department data.
Pennsylvania on Saturday reported 2,510 new cases, according to a health department statement. Pennsylvania has 208,207 cases and 8,812 deaths, health officials said.
Daily increases in the state along with Michigan and Wisconsin were at the highest level since the start of the pandemic, health officials in those states said.
In El Paso, Texas, where hospitals are struggling to meet the demand of Covid-19 patients, officials are preparing to add a third mobile morgue unit in anticipation of a spike in deaths.
“If that doesn’t put our situation into perspective I don’t know what will,” County Judge Ricardo Samaniego wrote on Facebook.
As of Saturday morning, El Paso had reported 1,643 new cases and four new deaths, bringing the total death toll to 599, according to the City/County of El Paso Covid-19 website. There were more than 16,837 active cases in the community.
Hospitals could become overwhelmed as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday.
Fourteen states and one US territory reported record high hospitalizations Friday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The project reported 46,688 hospitalizations. On October 1, the nation had 30,077.
Those states and territories are: Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Guam.
Wisconsin health officials on Saturday reported record high 5,278 new case, bringing the state total to 225,370. There were 59 new virus-related deaths.
University of Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez told ESPN’s College GameDay on Saturday that 22 people in the school’s football program – 12 student-athletes and 10 staff members – had tested positive for Covid-19.
The school will decide Tuesday whether the Badgers can play their next scheduled game on November 7 at home against Purdue, Alvarez said.
The number of hospitalizations is the best measure of how the nation is faring in the coronavirus pandemic, Murray said. “They are a leading indicator ahead of deaths.”
But Murray said the US public is not getting the data it needs to understand which hospitals will be most severely under stress going forward and called on the government to release more information.
Murray and his colleagues at IHME are responsible for an influential coronavirus model, which most recently projected 399,000 coronavirus deaths in the US by February 1.
“The fall/winter surge should lead to a daily death toll that is approximately three times higher than now by mid-January,” the IHME said in its latest forecast.
New York requires most travelers to get negative test
With cases surging throughout the country, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that most travelers must now get Covid-19 tests before and after arrival in the state.
The new policy replaces a previous advisory list of states with rising case counts from which travelers were required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York, the governor said during a call with the media.
Most travelers to New York State will be required to obtain a negative Covid-19 test three days prior to setting out on their trip to the state, Cuomo said.
Reiner, a CNN medical analyst, said Friday that the increase in cases was “terrifying” and the worst was yet to come.
“In a day or two, we’ll top, six digits for cases in one day. We will see over 100,000 cases in one day. Now, that by itself sounds bad, but two weeks after that, you know, we’ll start seeing 2,000 people a day dying in this country,” he said.
Reiner said the worst-case scenario could be losing 2,000 to 2,500 patients a day but that Americans had the power to contain the virus.
“We need to mask up and in some places, we need to think about smart closures,” he said.
“Europe is closing all over – it’s the smart thing to do when the virus gets out of control. That’s how we got control with the first wave. so, here’s the choice for the country: If you don’t want to close, then mask up. But we can’t have it both ways. We can’t be no mask and no closing. So – if closing is offensive – let’s mask up.
Wen said Friday that testing needs to be stepped up.
“Today, we now have one person being diagnosed (with the) coronavirus every second,” she said. “We have one American dying of (the) coronavirus every two minutes, and that number is increasing.”
Wen, an emergency medicine physician, told CNN she is most concerned about the rate of test positivity. In some states, she said one in two people being tested are positive.
“That means that we’re not doing nearly enough testing, and that every person who tests positive is a canary in a coal mine,” she said. “There are almost certainly to be many more, dozens of other cases, that we’re not detecting, and that escalation is going to increase in the weeks to come.”
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas and Jonny Hallam contributed to this report.