WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The United States recorded more than 75,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday — a mere hundreds of cases away a single-day record set in July, according to a New York Times database.
The Times reports 75,049 cases on Thursday compared to some 75,600 on July 16 during the nation’s second case peak.
The country has now reached an average of 62,000 daily coronavirus cases inching closer to the average of 66,000 daily cases we saw in mid-July. The recent numbers, who show a 30% spike in cases over the last 14 days, certainly indicate we’re now in the middle of a third COVID-19 peak — and possibly on the path to the highest mark yet.
Deaths are starting to climb as well. After being relatively flat last week, we’ve seen a 9% increase in COVID fatalities in the 14-day average. While 828 deaths were reported Thursday, we saw a death toll of 1,170 on Wednesday. That’s the highest daily figure in a month, according to the New York Times.
Hospitals across the country are starting to buckle from the resurgence, with several states setting records for the number of people hospitalized and leaders scrambling to find extra beds and staff. New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days.
The rise in cases and hospitalizations is alarming to medical experts.
As numbers rose to near-record highs, the two men hoping to lead the country in 2021 focused on virus response during their Thursday debate in Nashville.
President Donald Trump declared the virus will “go away.” Democratic rival Joe Biden countered that the nation was heading toward “a dark winter.”
“Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,” Biden said.
With less than two weeks until the election, Trump portrayed himself as the same outsider he first pitched to voters four years ago, repeatedly saying he wasn’t a politician. Biden, meanwhile, argued that Trump was an incompetent leader of a country facing multiple crises and tried to connect what he saw as the president’s failures to the everyday lives of Americans, especially when it comes to the pandemic.
The president, who promised a vaccine within weeks, said the worst problems are in states with Democratic governors, a contention at odds with rising cases in states that voted for Trump in 2016. Biden, meanwhile, vowed that his administration would defer to scientists on battling the pandemic and said that Trump’s divisive approach on suffering states hindered the nation’s response.
“I don’t look at this in terms of the way he does — blue states and red states,” Biden said. “They’re all the United States. And look at all the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus–they’re the red states.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.