The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States for November surpassed 4 million Saturday, more than double the record set in October of 1.9 million cases. And the sharp escalation is likely to continue — or grow even steeper.
“We are on track to continue this accelerated pace of the epidemic and see even more speed of rise of cases because of the movement indoors, of activities around the country and because large numbers of people have moved around the country for the holidays,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
The milestone came as Americans are travelling by the millions for the long Thanksgiving weekend and amid a Black Friday that saw some store crowding.
More than 170,000 people in the United States are now testing positive on an average day. More than 1.1 million people tested positive in the past week alone. The country’s overall total, from the start of the pandemic, is more than 13 million infections — by far the world’s largest outbreak.
The Thanksgiving holiday, however, caused skews in reporting at the end of the week, with a steep drop-off in new cases reported Thursday and then a huge jump Friday. Many states did not report data on the Thanksgiving holiday, when the national tally rose by more than 103,000 cases and more than 1,100 deaths.
For that reason, the numbers were artificially high Friday, when many states reported two days’ worth of data. That pushed the country past 200,000 cases in a single day for the first time, with more than 205,000 reported as of late Friday night, along with more than 1,400 deaths.
Many hospitals across the country are already overcrowded and struggling to keep up with rising numbers of patients seeking care, and the pressure on the health care system is likely to only increase.
The number for this month, as of midday Saturday, was 4,006,548, with more than two days left for the tally to grow.