A man displays his face covering for protection against the coronavirus in West Union, W.Va., last month. Small communities from the Dakotas to Kansas to West Virginia have recently seen coronavirus cases rising again. Kathleen Batten/AP
By Scott Neumann, NPR
The U.S. has reached another grim coronavirus milestone, surpassing 100,000 new confirmed cases in a single day for the first time since the pandemic reached the country more than nine months ago.
The record 102,831 cases reported on Thursday by Johns Hopkins University tops the more than 99,321 cases set just days ago, on Oct. 30. The university reported 1,097 additional COVID-19 deaths for the same day.
The latest numbers are part of a new spike in infections that have swept through the U.S. heartland, including many states that had once been largely insulated from the worst of the pandemic.
From the Dakotas to Ohio, communities have seen a spike in cases and record hospitalizations in recent days, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia have also broken hospitalization records.
The surge comes as President Trump, in the final days of the presidential campaign, sought once again to minimize the pandemic, insisting without evidence that the country is “rounding the turn” on COVID-19 and accusing the media of overplaying the story to damage his reelection chances.
The president has also grown increasingly critical of his scientific advisers and suggested that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert.
The new data also come as Congress has been unable to reach agreement on a new coronavirus relief package, although after months of impasse in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 polls, there are signs of possible postelection movement.
Nearly 9.5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the virus, and the number of confirmed deaths from the disease is nearing 234,000. More than 52,000 people are currently hospitalized in the U.S. with COVID-19.
Much of Europe is also experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, with renewed lockdown measures in the U.K., Germany, Greece and Poland.