MICHIGAN – On Friday, more than 84,000 individuals were diagnosed with COVID-19 across the United States, a record one-day rise in infections during the pandemic as the virus surges nationally again.
The rise to 84,218 cases, shattering the record of 77,299 set on July 16, comes as researchers at the University of Washington expect that by February, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could exceed a total of 500,000.
On Friday, 16 U.S. states have reached one-day records for new COVID-19 virus infections, including five deemed crucial in the presidential election on Nov. 3: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Health experts did not identify the reason for the spike but cited factors such as colder temperatures driving individuals indoors, COVID-19 precautionary exhaustion, and students returning to schools and colleges.
“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.
The new estimate by the Institute for Health Indicators and Evaluation of the commonly quoted University of Washington also reflects concerns that cold winter weather will drive Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.
If 95 percent of Americans cover their ears, the number of potential deaths could drop by 130,000, the IHME said, echoing a suggestion by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.