Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

U.S. shatters records for new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations

The U.S. broke two coronavirus records Wednesday: For the first time, more than 200,000 new cases were reported in a single day, and more than 100,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across the country.

The number of hospitalized patients is nearly double what it was in the spring, during the pandemic's deadly first wave of infections. Philip Landrigan, the director of a global public health program at Boston College, told The New York Times that "any thinking person has to be worried. That we have so many hospitalizations speaks to the fact that we have done a very poor job of controlling this pandemic. It is spreading very rapidly, and in many places, it is basically spreading out of control."

At least 272,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, and more than 2,700 deaths were reported Wednesday. The single-day fatality record is 2,967, set in mid-April.

On Wednesday morning, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield warned that the next three months "are going to be rough times. I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that it's going to put on our health care system."

He estimated that by February, the U.S. could be "close to 450,000" COVID-19 deaths, but he wants Americans to remember that "we're not defenseless," and everyone must do their part by wearing masks and practicing social distancing, measures that are proven to work.