The United States reported another record one-day spike in Covid-19 cases as the outbreak grows more severe and overwhelms some hospitals.
The country reported more than 153,400 new cases on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s the third-straight record one-day spike and has pushed the seven-day average of new U.S. infections to over 131,400, up more than 32% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data.
It’s not just cases. More than 67,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, more than at any other point during the pandemic, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. The number of people dying every day from the disease is climbing, too.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that “a number of factors” is driving the outbreak, including people growing tired of following public health measures. He said that’s a particular issue as the country approaches Thanksgiving in about two weeks, when many Americans are expected to travel to see family and friends, potentially bringing the virus with them.
Fauci urged Americans to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and to follow other public health measures.
“If we do the things that are simple public health measures, that soaring will level and start to come down,” he said on CBS’ “This Morning.” “You add that to the help of a vaccine, we can turn this around. It is not futile.”
Fauci added that “we need to pull more testing into the community” in order to identify people who don’t have symptoms but are infected and spreading the virus. Testing has increased substantially across the country, but as infections become more prevalent as well, many epidemiologists say even more testing is needed.
While some, including President Donald Trump, have said increased testing is driving the rise in cases, the data doesn’t bear that out. The seven-day average of new tests on Thursday was over 1.4 million, up by about 8.3% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of COVID Tracking Project data. The rise in cases far outpaces that, with a week-over-week rise of more than 32%, on an average weekly basis.
And the so-called positivity rate has been increasing, too. Epidemiologists say the percent of positive tests can be a helpful figure to determine whether an outbreak is expanding and whether an area is conducting enough testing. In the U.S., the seven-day average positivity rate rose to 9.1% from 7.2% a week ago, according to Hopkins data.
The surge of the virus is beginning to overwhelm hospitals in some areas. Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health at the University of Wisconsin, said Thursday his system’s hospitals are overwhelmed in both rural and urban communities.
“We are short of staff all times, either because they have Covid or they have some other illness and we need to rule out Covid before we bring them back to work,” he said on “Squawk on the Street.” “There is no surplus now.”
— Charts by CNBC’s Nate Rattner.