Friday’s number surpassed the previous daily record held by India, which reported 97,894 coronavirus cases in a single day on September 17, according to India’s health ministry.
Hospitals could become overwhelmed as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday.
“In our numbers this week, we see that 18 states are going to have real stress on their ICUs in the months of December, in January — maybe actually overcapacity. That’s a real prospect on the horizon,” Murray said.
The number of hospitalizations is the best measure of how the nation is faring in the coronavirus pandemic, Murray said. “They are a leading indicator ahead of deaths.”
But Murray said the US public is not getting the data it needs to understand which hospitals will be most severely under stress going forward and called on the government to release more information.
“The fall/winter surge should lead to a daily death toll that is approximately three times higher than now by mid-January,” the IHME said in its latest forecast.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University told CNN’s Don Lemon Friday that the increase in cases was “terrifying” and the worst was yet to come.
“In a day or two, we’ll top, six digits for cases in one day. We will see over 100,000 cases in one day. Now, that by itself sounds bad, but two weeks after that, you know, we’ll start seeing 2,000 people a day dying in this country,” he said.
Reiner said the worst-case scenario could be losing 2,000 to 2,500 patients a day but that Americans had the power to contain the virus.
“We need to mask up and in some places, we need to think about smart closures,” he said.
“Europe is closing all over — it’s the smart thing to do when the virus gets out of control. That’s how we got control with the first wave. so, here’s the choice for the country: If you don’t want to close, then mask up. But we can’t have it both ways. We can’t be no mask and no closing. So — if closing is offensive — let’s mask up.
Another health expert said Friday that testing needs to be stepped up.
“Today, we now have one person being diagnosed (with the) coronavirus every second,” former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said. “We have one American dying of (the) coronavirus every two minutes, and that number is increasing.”
Wen, an emergency medicine physician, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she is most concerned about the rate of test positivity. In some states, she said one in two people being tested are positive.
“That means that we’re not doing nearly enough testing, and that every person who tests positive is a canary in a coal mine,” she said. “There are almost certainly to be many more, dozens of other cases, that we’re not detecting, and that escalation is going to increase in the weeks to come.”