With much of the nation's attention understandably consumed by developments in the high-stakes presidential election, the United States on Wednesday reported a daily record of more than 104,000 new Covid-19 infections, the latest alarming indication that—far from President Donald Trump's repeated insistence that the virus is fading away—the deadly pandemic is only getting worse as the winter months approach.
"The count that worries me? Over 100,000 Covid-19 cases yesterday," Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves tweeted Thursday morning. "Deaths up 21%. There has been silence on this from the White House and the Dems. This is a tsunami. Washing over us. Pay attention."
Coming just 24 hours after millions of Americans showed up at polling places across the nation to cast their ballots in the presidential race and down-ballot contests, Wednesday marked the first time the U.S. recorded at least 100,000 new coronavirus infections in a single day.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been warning since June—when the U.S. was reporting around 40,000 cases daily—that the nation could reach 100,000 new infections per day if more aggressive preventative measures were not taken by the federal government in partnership with state and local leaders.
"We're in for a whole lot of hurt. It's not a good situation," Fauci told the Washington Post last week. "All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."
On top of the surge in cases nationwide, coronavirus hospitalizations are also soaring in more than a dozen states, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project.
Hospitalization numbers peaked in 16 states today. 20 states have over 1,000 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/9vpAkVNoZb
— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) November 5, 2020
The latest record-shattering coronavirus figures came days after Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, warned in an internal report dated November 2 that the U.S. is "entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic" and urged the Trump administration to take "much more aggressive action."
"Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic," reads Birx's report, which was obtained by the Post. "Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.”
As Birx sounded the alarm behind the scenes and other experts issued similar warnings publicly, Trump continued to hold crowded in-person rallies in the days leading up to Tuesday's election and downplay the severity of the pandemic, which has killed more than 234,000 people in the U.S. alone.
As Common Dreams reported over the weekend, a Stanford University analysis linked 18 of Trump's campaign rallies from June 20 to September 30 to more than 30,000 coronavirus infections and at least 700 deaths.
"That's all I hear about now. Turn on television, 'Covid, Covid, Covid Covid Covid.' A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it. 'Covid Covid Covid Covid,'" Trump told a crowd of his supporters in North Carolina late last month. "By the way, on November 4, you won't hear about it anymore."
One of Trump's closing messages was that, because people were only talking about the coronavirus to make him look bad, you would no longer hear much about it as of November 4, which is today. https://t.co/hRXjtZHRnR
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 4, 2020
Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor Baylor College of Medicine, tweeted Wednesday that he has long worried the U.S. would reach 100,000 Covid cases in a single day, a grim milestone he said further lays bare the Trump administration's failures.
"I dreaded this day, here it is. And the lights are off for the entire Executive Branch of our Federal Government," Hotez said. "Historic and unprecedented abandonment of the American people. I'm horrified."