|The U.S. has recorded more than 240,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 10.3 million confirmed infections, with new cases soaring to all-time highs of more than 120,000 per day over the past week. Health experts have blamed the increase in part on the onset of cold weather and growing frustration with mask-wearing and other precautions. Cases per day are on the rise in 49 states, and deaths per day are climbing in 39. A month ago, the U.S. was seeing about 730 COVID-19 deaths per day on average. It has now surpassed 970.
Texas on Wednesday became the first state with more than one million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and California is closing in on that mark. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all restaurants, bars and gyms statewide will have to close at 10 p.m. starting Friday, a major retreat in a corner of the U.S. that had seemingly brought the virus largely under control months ago. He also barred private gatherings of more than 10 people. According to the COVID Tracking Project by The Atlantic, there have been about 15,000 new hospitalizations since the Nov. 3 election.
Among the many health officials sounding the alarm is Dr. Julie Watson of Integris Health in Oklahoma. “We are in trouble,” she said. “If nothing is done soon to slow the rise in cases, our hospitals will be more overwhelmed than they already are and we won’t be able to be there for all of those who need it.” The American Medical Association renewed its plea for mask-wearing, physical distancing and frequent hand-washing. “With the holidays quickly approaching, each of us must do everything possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” AMA president Susan Bailey said. “Failing to do our part will prolong the suffering and disruption to our lives and inevitably lead to more deaths of our friends, neighbours and loved ones.”