Daily Covid-19 cases in the US reached a record high on Thursday, with experts warning that death rates could triple by mid-January.
There were 88,521 new cases of the coronavirus reported in the US on October 29, according to data from Johns Hopkins University -- 9,540 more cases than Wednesday.
In total, there have been 8,944,934 cases and at least 228,656 deaths in the US -- 971 of them on Thursday, JHU data shows.
"This is the hardest point in this pandemic right now -- the next two months," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday. "We can't give up our guard right now."
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine says it is most likely that by the middle of January, 2,250 Americans will be dying every day from the coronavirus -- three times more than the current rate.
And it could get much worse.
"If states do not react to rising numbers by re-imposing mandates, cumulative deaths could reach 514,000 by the same date," the IHME said in its latest forecast.
"The fall/winter surge should lead to a daily death toll that is approximately three times higher than now by mid-January. Hospital systems, particularly ICUs, are expected to be under extreme stress in December and January in 18 states."
And hospitals are already under increased strain. As of Thursday, more than 46,000 people were hospitalized, according to the Covid Tracking Project, with all but 11 states seeing a rise in hospitalizations this week.
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