The U.S. recorded roughly 97,000 new coronavirus cases Friday, shattering the previous record for the highest number of new cases in a single day.
Data from the COVID Tracking Project showed there were 97,080 new cases Friday, ushering in an alarming new milestone that comes as dozens of states across the country see spikes in infections. The figure broke the previous record of 88,521 new coronavirus cases, which had been set on Thursday.
The nationwide surge in cases comes just ahead of a winter season during which experts say the increase will be exacerbated, as social gatherings move indoors where the virus can spread more easily.
“This is the hardest point in this pandemic right now – the next two months,” Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday. “We can’t give up our guard right now.”
The rise in cases virtually confirms that the coronavirus pandemic will be a top issue in the election next week, with polls showing large swaths of voters already saying the virus outbreak is their No. 1 issue.
The most serious outbreaks are being found in crucial political battlegrounds in the Midwest, including Wisconsin, which saw more than 5,000 new cases Friday.
The president has maintained the country is “rounding the turn,” but Democrats have torn into the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, noting his dismissal of guidance from government health experts.
“President Trump’s decision to mislead the public about the severity of the crisis, his failure to listen to scientists about how to keep Americans healthy, and his refusal to implement a coordinated national plan to stop the coronavirus have all contributed to devastating results: more than 227,000 Americans dead, more than 8.8 million Americans infected, and a dangerous virus that continues to spread out of control nine months after it reached our nation’s shores,” a report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said Friday.