There were more than 35,000 new COVID-19 cases in the United States on Thursday and deaths were up again, according to updated data from Johns Hopkins University.
The university’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering on Friday showed 35,300 new cases, the highest one-day count in nearly a week, and about 900 new deaths.
Although the death toll was a decrease from Wednesday, it was still higher than the average of about 700 per day over the past week.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been about 6.4 million cases and 191,800 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, warned Thursday the pandemic will likely worsen this fall and winter as people spend more time indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.
“We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy,” Fauci said during a panel discussion sponsored by the Harvard Medical School.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said he expects parts of the United States will soon see new surges in cases, after Labor Day holiday gatherings nationwide — a pattern that has been repeated several times.
“It’s really quite frankly depressing to see that because you know what’s ahead,” he said.
Fauci said he expects a COVID-19 vaccine will likely be available by the end of this year or early next.
USA Today reported that many of the most active new outbreaks are occurring in college towns, where students have recently arrived on campus for the fall semester.
The report said James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., and Central Texas College in Coryell County, Texas, have been among the most active.
Shortly after reopening last month, James Madison saw more than 700 cases in one week. Monday, it switched to remote classes. Harrisonburg has averaged 1,500 cases per 100,000 residents during the past week, the report said.
In California, the largest U.S. public university system said Thursday classrooms will remain closed for the rest of the 2020-21 academic year.
California State University Chancellor Timothy White said in a letter that a “virtual instructional approach” will continue with the next academic term that begins in January. The CSU system, which includes nearly 500,000 students. will also continue to limit on-campus housing.
“While the current mitigation factors do make a difference, in the absence of a vaccine and of sufficient, cost-effective, timely testing and contact-tracing infrastructure, we are not able to return to a normal, principally in-person schedule in January 2021,” White wrote.
The chancellor said the moves were partly driven by “widespread socialization” across California that often “did not comport with public health directives” over the Labor Day holiday.
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