In the span of just over a month, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has doubled, as has the seven-day rolling average of the number of new cases and deaths linked to the virus every day.
On Nov. 4, the U.S. was experiencing an upswing in new cases, with a then-record average of 89,000 new cases a day according to the COVID Tracking Project. However, hospitals were caring for a still-manageable 52,000 patients, and local health departments were reporting 859 deaths today — a tragic number, but nowhere near as high as the first weeks of the pandemic.
But in just over a month, those numbers have skyrocketed. Reports of new infections now average more than 200,000 a day — a once-unthinkable figure.
There are now a record 104,000 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals — a number that has completely overwhelmed nursing staffs across the country, particularly in rural areas.
Finally, the U.S. is now losing an average of more than 2,600 people a day to COVID-19 — a number that exceeds the amount of life lost on the attack at Pearl Harbor, where 2,400 lives were lost.
And according to health experts, the surge is only expected to worsen. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says the U.S. has not yet felt the full force of the expected spike caused by extensive travel for Thanksgiving gatherings.
"The blip from Thanksgiving isn't even here yet," Fauci told CBS News on Tuesday. "So we're getting those staggering numbers of new cases and hospitalizations before we even feel the full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday."
There is some light at the end of the tunnel, as Americans are expected to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in the coming days. However, the vaccines won't be widely available to all Americans until sometime in the spring.