As new coronavirus infections surged last month, doctors warned that a steep rise in deaths would follow. It has arrived. The US hit a new record of 2,804 COVID deaths Wednesday, making it the deadliest day of the pandemic so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The total was earlier set at 3,157 due to an error in one state's tally. The previous record of 2,603 was recorded on April 15, CNN reports, noting the total death count stands at 273,799. On Tuesday, there were 2,597 COVID deaths reported. Other COVID statistics from Wednesday paint an unrelentingly bleak picture and suggest the worst is yet to come, the BBC reports. New cases rose by about 200,000, setting another new record, and the number of hospitalized COVID patients passed 100,000 for the first time, having more than doubled from a month ago.
CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield warned Wednesday that a very tough few months lie ahead. "The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times," he said. "I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that's going to be put on our health care system." Experts warn that with cases expected to keep rising following Thanksgiving travel, the outlook is worse than it was when cases rose in the spring, New York Times reports. "This is a much worse situation," says Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. "Summer is not going to bail us out. Things are not shut down." But a smaller proportion of COVID patients are dying from the virus, and authorities hope to vaccinate tens of millions of people over the next few month. (Read more coronavirus stories.)