The US topped 100,000 coronavirus cases, a troubling new high-water mark as the country faces the prospect of a sustained increase in illnesses and deaths over the coming months.
As of Thursday at 6:30 p.m. New York time, 106,414 cases had been reported in the country, bringing the total to 9.6 million, according to John Hopkins University Data compiled by Bloomberg. The number of new infections has been surging across the country, including in many of the battleground states in the Midwest that were expected to play a critical role in the still-undecided presidential election.
Even as the number of cases has surged, testing is growing more slowly. According to the Covid Tracking Project, in the week through Nov. 4, new cases increased 7.1%, while tests increased 6.2%.
The number of deaths from Covid-19 is also on the climb, topping 1,000 for the third day in a row on Thursday. While mortality rates remain lower than in the initial phase of the pandemic in the spring, the overall number of deaths is likely to follow the number of cases higher as infections accelerate. Deaths tend to lag infection trends by several weeks.
Epidemiologists have been warning for some time that the U.S. could see a marked increase in infections during the colder months. New cases are also jumping in Europe, where leaders have taken measures to lock down economic activity and try to avert crippling health-care systems. There has been little talk of similar measures in America, however, even as many hospitals are bracing for an expected influx of Covid-19 patients in the weeks ahead.
Governors from states including New York, New Jersey and Ohio raised further concerns Thursday of more infections, while Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said earlier in the day the recent increase in cases is “particularly concerning.”
The surge is playing out as scientists race to develop viable vaccines, an effort that has been set back at times as some clinical trials were paused for safety concerns. And while there are an expanding array of treatment options available to doctors, including recently approved antiviral therapy remdesivir, other highly touted therapies are likely to be in more limited supply even once they receive clearance from regulators.