More than a quarter-million Americans have died from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus that is tearing massive holes in states across the nation, as health experts warn the death toll could double in the coming months.
The United States continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic, accounting for a hugely disproportionate share of cases and deaths even as the virus begins spreading more widely in European countries.
Virtually every indicator in the U.S. is flashing bright red alarms: The country has recorded more than 100,000 new cases on every day since the Nov. 3 election. More than 73,000 Americans are being treated in hospitals, an all-time high. Of those, 14,000 are in intensive care units. The number of tests conducted on a given day is rising, but so too is the percentage of those tests that come back positive, a sign that the virus is spreading faster than testing is expanding.
“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Kelli Drenner, a public health expert at the University of Houston. “People are letting their guard down, expanding their bubbles.”