A patient arrives outside Maimonides Medical Center as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Brooklyn, New York, USA, on November 17, 2020.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
The United States reported more than 195,500 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, a record increase less than a week before Thanksgiving, as public health officials warn it could further exacerbate the outbreak.
The increase in cases leads to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. More than 82,100 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, more than at any time before during the pandemic, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project, run by journalists at The Atlantic.
The Atlantic Ocean obtained data earlier this week from the Department of Health and Human Services, which showed that approx. 20% of U.S. hospitals faced or are expected to face staff shortages last week.
More than 1,800 people in the United States died of Covid-19 on Friday, according to Hopkins data. The nation has recorded more than 1,500 deaths daily since Tuesday, and the number of deaths has not been seen since May. On Thursday, the United States recorded more than 2,000 deaths.
Earlier this week, Dr. Henry Walke, Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 incident leader, said the agency is “concerned” about the “exponential increase in cases and admissions and deaths.” At the agency’s first official press briefing in several months, he urged Americans not to travel to Thanksgiving gatherings.
Public health specialists and epidemiologists are sounding the alarm that Thanksgiving could exacerbate an already serious nationwide outbreak. Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the CDC, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, said on Twitter on Friday that if “we are not much more careful than we plan to be, this Thanksgiving will be the Super Bowl with super-scattering events. “
Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, said he was “very concerned” over the weekend. He said even though people plan to practice social distancing during the Thanksgiving meal, such protocols will “become less complete by the end of the day, especially after a glass or three of egg yolks.”
“We thank you, but we also give the virus, I’m afraid,” he said in a telephone interview. “People want to take these back to their homes. They spread further in the family and to neighbors and friends.”