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U.S. reports record-breaking number of daily COVID-19 cases, but experts say the worst is yet to come

Last Friday, the CDC reported 99,750 new cases, a record high from the day before.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

The United States reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Friday as cases across the country have been rising since mid-September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 data tracker.

Last Friday, the CDC reported 99,750 new cases, a record high from the day before when there were 90,155 new cases.

The overall national percentage of positive COVID-19 tests increased from 6.6% from the week ending on Oct. 17 to 7.1% for the week ending on Oct. 24, according to the CDC's weekly surveillance summary.

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WHAT'S THE IMPACT

With the spike in cases, the U.S. now has 9,182,628 total COVID-19 cases, with 565,607 of these coming in the last week.

Hospitalization rates have also increased since September, according to the CDC's weekly COVID-19 summary. In the most recent report, the COVID-19-related hospitalization rate was about 200 hospitalizations per 100,000 population.

States that are being hardest hit with the most cases in the last week are Illinois (44,570), Texas (42,480), Wisconsin (32,506), California (28,505) and Florida (28,149).

While hospitals in surge areas of Texas, South and North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin are reportedly overwhelmed, The New York Times reported that the death rate for seriously ill COVID-19 patients has declined. At one New York hospital system, the report said, where 30% of coronavirus patients died in March, the death rate dropped to 3% by the end of June.

Racial minorities continue to be harder hit by the pandemic; the hospitalization rate for Hispanic or Latino people was approximately 4.4 times that of non-Hispanic whites. The rate was 4.3 times higher for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and 4.2 times higher for non-Hispanic Black individuals compared with non-Hispanic whites.

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have remained fairly consistent at 700 to 800 deaths per week since the beginning of September. The current death toll sits at 230,383, according to the CDC.

THE LARGER TREND

Congress has been unable to agree on legislation for more relief funding that might help hospitals, as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act did.

The recent surge in cases marks the country's third and highest peak. Meanwhile, as other countries began locking down after their own increases in COVID-19 cases, President Trump criticized the preventative measures as "draconian."

This is only the beginning of a new wave of COVID-19 cases, according to public health officials. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, told The Washington Post, "We're in for a whole lot of hurt," as the winter months come closer. Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that Thanksgiving is going to be the point where the country will begin to see "exponential growth in a lot of states," with December likely being the hardest hit month.

With what hospitals and health systems learned from the first wave of COVID-19, ensuring their medical supply chains are intact and their telehealth offerings remain easy to use will be critical. Other strategies from the CDC include creating a written and structured COVID-19 plan that includes communication, triage and visitor protocols.

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org