A patient arrives in Brooklyn, New York, United States, outside Maimonides Medical Center on November 17, 2020 as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
The United States reported more than 195,500 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, a record spike less than a week before Thanksgiving, which health officials are warning of and which could make the outbreak worse.
The jump from almost 200,000 cases on Friday increases the 7-day average of new cases to over 167,600, an increase of almost 20% over a week. This comes from a CNBC analysis of the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The 7-day average of new cases in 43 states and the District of Columbia is up at least 5% from the week, according to Hopkins data.
The increase in cases leads to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. According to data from the COVID Tracking Project run by journalists in the Atlantic, more than 82,100 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 across the country, more than ever before during the pandemic.
The Atlantic received data from the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this week showing that around 20% of American hospitals faced or faced staff shortages last week.
More than 1,800 people died of Covid-19 in the United States on Friday, according to Hopkins data. The nation has recorded more than 1,500 deaths a day since Tuesday, with no fatalities since May. The US recorded more than 2,000 deaths on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency was "alarmed" by the "exponential increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths." At the agency's first official press conference in months, he urged Americans not to travel to Thanksgiving gatherings.
Public health professionals and epidemiologists are sounding the alarm that Thanksgiving could worsen an already serious nationwide outbreak. Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the CDC appointed by President Barack Obama, said on Twitter Friday that this Super Bowl Thanksgiving will be the superspreading when "we aren't much more careful than planned" events. "
Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, said he was "very concerned" about the vacation weekend. He said even if people plan to practice social distancing during Thanksgiving, such protocols will "be less complete at the end of the day, especially after a glass or three of eggnog".
"We will thank you, but unfortunately we will also give the virus," he said in a telephone interview. "People will bring these back to their homes. They will be distributed within families and to neighbors and friends."