COVID-19 infections have increased by more than one million in under a week, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. As of Friday, the number of cases in the United States blew past 13 million. There were 12 million known cases on Saturday, November 21.
At least 265,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, which began its rampage through the population in March. Because there was no cohesive national plan to respond to the virus, such as a nation-wide mask mandate or universal lockdown, COVID-19 is now spreading exponentially in every single state.
Disinformation eminating from the White House, specifically from President Donald Trump, has compounded the devastation, as has misleading messaging from Republicans at local, state, and national levels.
Republicans in Congress have also balked at additional stimulus legislation to float the economy as millions of Americans remain out of work, with many jobs, particularly in the food service and entertainment industries, having likely vanished for the foreseeable future.
The coronavirus is also crushing the already strained American health care and hospital systems. Hospitalizations surpassed 90,000 on Friday, continuing a 17-day record-setting streak, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
New infections grew by 195,000 on Friday alone. On Thursday, 1,319 people lost their lives.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist in the country, sees a grim winter ahead if basic safety measures – like wearing masks and avoiding large indoor social gatherings – continue to be dismissed by elected officials.
“If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up,” Fauci told USA Today. “I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving.”
But despite five-alarm warnings from medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans traveled to see friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Forecast models predict that if current trends continue, hundreds of thousands of Americans will die before Trump’s first term in office officially expires at noon on January 20, 2021.
Fifty-four days until the inauguration.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.