The US made no progress in lowering its baseline of Covid-19 cases in the past month despite experts’ urgent admonitions to reduce the daily count of new cases before the challenging fall and winter seasons.
Hours before President Trump announced Friday that he and his wife tested positive for the virus, the average of daily new cases nationwide stood around 42,785. That’s about 500 more than on September 1, data from Johns Hopkins University shows, and more than double what the US saw in June, when lockdown restrictions began to ease.
“No matter how you slice it, that’s not good,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said last week. “We’re looking at 40,000 new cases per day. That’s unacceptable and that is what we’ve got to get down before we go into the more problematic winter.”
The Trumps, whose test result announcement came hours after the President revealed one of his closest aides had tested positive, will remain in the White House as they recover, his physician said.
“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” Trump tweeted early Friday. “We will get through this TOGETHER!”
‘We are nearing a crisis’
Experts like Fauci say now is the time for cities and states to double down on safety measures to help combat a coming surge of Covid-19 cases. Among those measures are face masks, which remain the country’s most powerful tool against the virus until a vaccine becomes available.
If 95% of Americans wore masks, around 96,000 lives could be saved by January, according to projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
The institute’s director, Dr. Chris Murray, has warned of an explosion of Covid-19 cases in the coming months and a “deadly December” coming up. The IHME projects the US could see more than 3,000 daily deaths by the end of this year.
It also projects more than 370,000 Americans will have died by January. More than 208,000 have already died in the US since the start of the pandemic, and more than 7.3 million have been infected.
States setting Covid records
Local leaders across the US are stressing similar warnings, with 25 states reporting more new Covid-19 cases than the previous week.
On Friday, Kentucky reported 1,039 new cases of Covid-19, the second-highest number of new cases the state has reported since the pandemic began, Gov. Andy Beshear said in pre-recorded remarks he shared on his Facebook account.
The state has seen the highest four-day period of new cases in the last four days, Beshear said.
“This week is going to shatter last week’s record for number of cases. We have to do better,” the governor said.