As President Donald Trump suggested the coronavirus was winding down around the country during the final presidential debate of the election Thursday, the United States set a record high for new cases in a single day — 77,000 — a total that surpasses an earlier record set in July.
77,640 new cases were reported across the country for the day, an increase by roughly 2,000 cases from the previous record of 75,723 set on July 29, according to NBC News’ count.
The record-breaking total comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with roughly 224,000 deaths.
Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted what he called a “distressing trend” during a press briefing on Wednesday. The public health official said that coronavirus case numbers are “increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country” — even as President Donald Trump just a day later claimed from the debate stage in Nashville, Tennessee that coronavirus cases are winding down and the nation is “rounding the corner” on COVID-19.
“It will go away and as I say, we’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner. It’s going away,” Trump said on Thursday.
States like Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin in particular have reported higher case counts in the last two weeks. Public health officials like infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned Americans to prepare to “hunker down” as cooler weather sets in and people spend more time indoors a factor that is likely to drive an increase in cases.
In response to Trump’s ever-rosy picture of the virus, Biden pushed back on Thursday, rebuking Trump for suggesting the virus is disappearing while encouraging people to learn to live with it.
“People are learning to die with it,” Biden said.