After reporting 100,000 new coronavirus infections seven days in a row, the US has now surpassed a total of more than 10 million cases since the start of the pandemic — far more than any other country.
And that number will likely keep rapidly climbing, one expert told CNN.
“We are watching cases increase substantially in this country far beyond, I think, what most people ever thought could happen,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday. Osterholm has been named a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board.
“It will not surprise me if in the next weeks we see over 200,000 new cases a day,” he added.
The country’s seven-day average of new daily cases was 119,238 on Monday — more than three times higher than it was around mid-September, when it was at a post-summer-surge low.
But it’s not just the rising number of infections that is alarming. On Monday, the US had more than 59,200 people hospitalized nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
That’s the country’s highest total number since July 25, and not far from the nation’s pandemic peak of 59,940 set on April 15.
And as more people are infected and more are hospitalized, more American deaths will likely be recorded daily. Last week saw five days in a row with more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths — the first time that’s happened since August.
More than 238,000 people have died since the start of the pandemic in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. Another 110,000 or more deaths are projected in the next two months, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.