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US coronavirus cases break global daily record, and experts warn it will only get worse

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN

(CNT) City News Talk #us-news

(CNN)The US reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday — the highest single day number of cases recorded for any country. The top five records in daily cases all occurred within eight days, and an expert says he worries the upward trend will push hospitals past capacity.

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Friday’s number surpassed the previous daily record held by India, which reported 97,894 coronavirus cases in a single day on September 17, according to India’s health ministry. 

The total number of US Covid-19 cases reached at least 9,055,410, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US reported more than 1,000 additional deaths Friday. The US death toll from the pandemic rose to 229,818 on Saturday.


On Friday, Iowa reported its highest single day increase of new cases. That means 31 states have had at least one record high day of new cases in October, Johns Hopkins data show.

Some 46,688 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals on Friday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That’s up 63.2% from a three-month low of 28,608 on September 20, and it’s the highest total since August 13.

Former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said Saturday the US has a narrow window of time before more drastic measures like mandatory lock downs will have to be considered.

“We are seeing Covid-19 hotspots raging all over the country and right now we have an opportunity to implement targeted measures like universal mask wearing, like making sure that high risk businesses like bars in certain areas are shut down, like instructing the public that we should be avoiding social gatherings of extended family and friends,” she told CNN. 

“But if we don’t do these things now, we’re going to be overwhelming our health systems and then a lock down may be necessary.” 

Hospitals could become overwhelmed as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday. 

Fourteen states and one US territory reported record high hospitalizations Friday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The project reported 46,688 hospitalizations. On October 1, the nation had 30,077.

Those states and territories are: Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Guam.

University of Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez told ESPN’s College GameDay on Saturday that 22 people — 12 student-athletes and 10 staff members — had tested positive for Covid-19.

The school will decide Tuesday whether the Badgers can play their next scheduled game on November 7 at home against Purdue, Alvarez said.

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The number of hospitalizations is the best measure of how the nation is faring in the coronavirus pandemic, Murray said. “They are a leading indicator ahead of deaths.”

But Murray said the US public is not getting the data it needs to understand which hospitals will be most severely under stress going forward and called on the government to release more information.

Murray and his colleagues at IHME are responsible for an influential coronavirus model, which most recently projected 399,000 coronavirus deaths in the US by February 1.

“The fall/winter surge should lead to a daily death toll that is approximately three times higher than now by mid-January,” the IHME said in its latest forecast.

A tent for coronavirus patients setup at University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, Friday. 

CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University told CNN’s Don Lemon Friday that the increase in cases was “terrifying” and the worst was yet to come.

“In a day or two, we’ll top, six digits for cases in one day. We will see over 100,000 cases in one day. Now, that by itself sounds bad, but two weeks after that, you know, we’ll start seeing 2,000 people a day dying in this country,” he said. 

Reiner said the worst-case scenario could be losing 2,000 to 2,500 patients a day but that Americans had the power to contain the virus.

“We need to mask up and in some places, we need to think about smart closures,” he said. 

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“Europe is closing all over — it’s the smart thing to do when the virus gets out of control. That’s how we got control with the first wave. so, here’s the choice for the country: If you don’t want to close, then mask up. But we can’t have it both ways. We can’t be no mask and no closing. So — if closing is offensive — let’s mask up. 

Wen said Friday that testing needs to be stepped up.

“Today, we now have one person being diagnosed (with the) coronavirus every second,” she said. “We have one American dying of (the) coronavirus every two minutes, and that number is increasing.”

Wen, an emergency medicine physician, told CNN she is most concerned about the rate of test positivity. In some states, she said one in two people being tested are positive.

“That means that we’re not doing nearly enough testing, and that every person who tests positive is a canary in a coal mine,” she said. “There are almost certainly to be many more, dozens of other cases, that we’re not detecting, and that escalation is going to increase in the weeks to come.”

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Lauren Mascarenhas, Jonny Hallam