U.S. Is Shattering Its Own Records of New COVID-19 Cases

The U.S. saw a seven-day average of 68,767 cases on Sunday, breaking its previous record in July, and making it the highest average since the pandemic began.

A doctor administers a free COVID-19 test to Jesus Pineda at a mobile clinic set up in South Los Angeles on July 15, 2020 | Getty Images
A doctor administers a free COVID-19 test to Jesus Pineda at a mobile clinic set up in South Los Angeles on July 15, 2020 | Getty Images

The U.S. is breaking its previous records this month with a staggering increase of COVID-19 cases, confirming public health officials’ expectations that cases would surge in the fall. 

The U.S. in October had its highest seven-day rolling average of new cases since the pandemic began in March. According to data from Johns Hopkins available as of Monday, the seven-day average hit 74,984, increasing above the previous record of 67,293 in July. 

As of Monday, Johns Hopkins reported that the U.S. had a 6.25% positivity ratio on a seven-day rolling average. The World Health Organization declared in May that a positive rate above 5% was “too high” and that a region should stay below 5% for two weeks before reopening at that time.

On October 23, the U.S. had its highest single-day increase in cases with more than 85,000 cases, according to data collected by the New York Times. That’s an increase of more than 10,000 from the previous highest single-day increase in July, as cases surged across the country especially in Sun Belt states. 

While significant case increases were once concentrated in metropolitan areas, rural parts of the country have increasingly seen alarming case numbers. In September, The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reported that the average number of cases in rural communities soared above those of populous cities. 

States including Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and California have experienced the largest increase in cases this week, according to Johns Hopkins. 

Experts have warned about a surge in cases coinciding with colder temperatures and the annual flu season. The resurgence comes as COVID-19 continues to be a contentious issue in the presidential election, as voting concludes in nine days. 

On Monday, President Trump tweeted that the recent surge in cases is due to more testing — a theory he has touted for months. 

The race to approve a COVID-19 vaccine continues in several trials globally — including one out of Oxford University that researchers have halted more than once because of negative side effects seen in participants.

Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Sunday that experts will know if a vaccine candidate is “safe and effective” by the end of November or early December. Fauci said widespread distribution, however, likely won’t happen until early 2021.