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Covid killing nearly 3,000 in U.S. every day as CDC warns of ‘surge event’ from Capitol riots

  • The U.S. reported more than 3,400 Covid deaths on Friday, which pushed the seven-day average of daily new deaths to a record-high 2,983.
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday will make the outbreak worse.
  • "You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol," Redfield said.

A patient lies on a stretcher in a hallway near other patients in the overloaded Emergency Room at Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in COVID-19 patients in Southern California on January 5, 2021 in Apple Valley, California.Mario Tama | Getty Images

Nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. are dying every day, on average, of Covid-19 as top health officials warn that the worst is yet to come.

The U.S. reported more than 3,400 Covid deaths on Friday, which spurred the seven-day average of daily new deaths to a record-high 2,983, up 19% compared with just one week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Daily new cases are soaring to fresh highs, as well. Over the past week, the country has reported an average of more than 247,200 new cases every day, up 27% from a week ago, according to Hopkins data. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday the outbreak will get worse before it gets better, echoing comments made earlier this week by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"We're going to continue to see mortality in the 2,500-5,000 a day range," Redfield told the McClatchy news agency in an interview. "This is going to continue to get worse through January, and probably parts of February before we really start to turn the corner."

Cases are already rising substantially almost everywhere, as the country experiences a predicted surge in the virus caused by inter-state travel and family gatherings for holidays last month. Average daily new cases are up by at least 5% in 47 states, according to Hopkins data. Redfield warned Friday that the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday will make the outbreak worse.

"I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol," he said. "Then these individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country right now. So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading event."

Donald Trump supporters gathered to protest against the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, State capitol, St. Paul, Minnesota.Michael Siluk | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Redfield noted that the outbreak is pushing hospitals to the brink in Southern California, where health-care workers are rationing supplemental oxygen and asking ambulances to wait hours before dropping off patients. He said Texas and Georgia could soon experience hospital bed shortages, too.

"We haven't hit the peak of the current surge," he said. "Clearly, the amount of mortality we're seeing, as many of us are trying to stress, is more than we saw on Pearl Harbor or 9/11, over and over and over again. That's the state of the pandemic unfortunately we're at right now."

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