While the deadly threat of Trump-supporting white supremacists continues to hover over the country, it would be foolhardy to forget that so does the fatal risk of COVID-19.
The U.S. recorded over 4,300 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest single-day number of deaths since the start of the pandemic according to CNN, which cited data from Johns Hopkins University.
COVID-19 cases have recently spiked dramatically in states like California and Arizona, and the country has averaged 3,300 deaths a day over the past week.
Nationwide the total number of deaths due COVID-19 is not far away from hitting the 400,000 milestone—a figure close to the number of Americans killed during World War II, reports the AP. That’s a stunning and terrifying statistic.
The rapidly growing numbers are being interpreted by experts as a consequence of gatherings during the recently ended holiday season. Researchers are also probing the role of two new variants of the virus that have recently been detected in the states.
So far, 34,804 people have died in January, on track to become the deadliest month of the pandemic in the United States. Medical experts say the nation is now in its post-holiday surge, and the situation will likely worsen before it improves.
The U.S. has reported more than 22.8 million Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and cases are rising in a majority of states every day. As of Tuesday, the average number of new cases over the last week climbed by at least 5% in 36 states and Washington, D.C.
“We were in a bad place even before the actual holidays came upon us,” White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday during the Schmidt Futures’ Forum on Preparedness.
“We’re in a very difficult situation, and it’s getting worse,” Fauci said. “I hope that as we get towards the end of January that we’ll see a peaking and a turning around, particularly if people hang in there and don’t get discouraged by Covid-19 fatigue and let down on their public health measures.”
The government has responded by instituting new measures in an attempt to curb the COVID monster, including a requirement that air passengers traveling into the U.S.show proof of a negative test. That order will go into effect on Jan. 26.
The CDC also issued guidelines on Tuesday that now make everyone 65 and older, and people with comorbidities—i.e. other diseases like diabetes—eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. The Trump administration says it will additionally stop holding back millions of reserve vaccine doses that it had been saving for people who have already gotten their first shot and are waiting for a second. Less than 3 percent of the population have received coronavirus vaccination.