Hospitals are again facing capacity issues as the US enters its third and potentially largest wave. Go Nakamura/Getty Images
The US recorded nearly 126,000 new daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, surpassing 100,000 — and breaking its previous daily case record — for the third day in a row.
The US recorded its first 200,000 cases in early April, more than two months after the first case in the country was discovered, but as the situation grows rapidly worse, another 200,000 have been infected with the virus in just the past two days alone.
Over the past week, coronavirus cases have increased in all 50 states as winter approaches and cold weather forces Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.
Americans have also gradually started traveling again and some states have continued with reopening plans as pandemic fatigue sets in, which could also be contributing to rising case numbers.
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The US confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on January 20, 2020.
The next two months proved to be devastating. As the coronavirus outbreak spiraled into a global pandemic, the US government’s slow and bungled response helped make the country an early epicenter, wreaking havoc on its people, economy, and morale. By April 1, the US had amassed more than 200,000 cases.
It has now added another 200,000 cases — this time in just two days, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
On Friday, the US reported 125,552 new cases, breaking a previous daily record of 116,255, reached on Thursday, a number that itself broke a previous record of 103,087, set Wednesday, making Friday the country’s third consecutive day with more than 100,000 new daily cases.
Deaths and hospitalizations have also been on the rise, with more than 1,000 deaths and new additional patients hospitalized per day over the past three days.
That trend is likely to continue as the US enters its third and possibly largest wave. Over the past week, every US state and territory (aside from the American Samoa) has recorded an increase in COVID-19 cases. Nearly half have recorded at least a 10% increase, while Wyoming and North Dakota have both seen cases jump more than 20%.
A major factor is the colder weather, which has been keeping Americans indoors where the virus is more likely to spread. The states with the 10 biggest spikes in case numbers — Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Alaska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and New Mexico — have all had temperatures drop into the 30s over the past week.
As a result, more than 140,000 people could die of the coronavirus in the US between now and February, according to the latest model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics.
Read More: We’re set to find out this month whether a coronavirus vaccine works. Here’s everything we know about the timeline and when you might be able to get a shot.
Some states have also been loosening restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus — 35 have either fully or partially reopened, according to The New York Times. These steps, along with pandemic fatigue and a looming mental-health crisis, are pushing some Americans to move around, travel, and interact with each other more, which could contribute to further community transmission.
With public health experts in agreement that the next few months are going to be difficult and a vaccine is still a ways off, they’ve offered a few tips to ride out the winter. For one, they recommend mentally preparing yourself for things to not be normal — that means no big holiday parties — and as well as possibly forming “social bubbles,” meaning a few people or households you agree to band together with and only spend time with them.
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