As Americans prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving, coronavirus infection cases around the country showed no signs of abating, as the country reached a new milestone of 13 million cases since the pandemic began.
Thanksgiving Day was also the 24th consecutive day that the country would be reporting over 100,000 daily cases of infections. The number of hospitalizations also clinched a new record. Figures from Johns Hopkins University Resource Center gave Thursday’s daily infection cases as 110,611 and 1,232 deaths.
Friday’s figures showed that about 13,047,202 people had contracted the coronavirus infection in the United States. The US also held the record for the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus by a single country, which totaled 264,624.
The Covid Tracking Project gave as 90,481, the total number of people hospitalized on Thanksgiving Day. Health facilities around the country also warned that they might be overwhelmed with patients if infection rates continue in a similar fashion in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Americans seemed to have had enough as they ignored several federal and state travel advisories warning against travel during the Thanksgiving holiday. Data released by the Transportation Security Administration showed that on Wednesday alone, about a million people accessed various airports for their travel needs. With this reality on the ground, public health experts said they expect infection rates to surge in the coming weeks.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that the number of fatalities could go as high as 321,000 in just a month, in the latest forecast it released on Wednesday.
Dr. Megan Ranney of Brown University said that while she hated to sound all pessimistic, the events of Thanksgiving portended bad tidings for the country and could take the pandemic to new heights. She said infections of Thursday would result in consequences over the next three weeks as the infection rates and death rates skyrockets.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, on his part, warned of increased infection rates in the next couple of weeks. He predicted that the country was in for a very tough time.
Data from the CDC showed that states like South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota were among the worst-hit states in the country. Others included Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Utah.
The nation’s foremost infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he saw dark days ahead. He said the coming holiday season could be fraught with increased infection rates that will be carried on to the New Year.
President Donald Trump had on Wednesday gone against the advice of public health experts by calling on Americans to gather in worship centers and in their homes as part of festivities to mark the holiday.