The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 3 million on Wednesday as the nation logged record rises in daily infections.
The grim milestone, tallied by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, came almost exactly a month after the U.S. passed 2 million COVID-19 cases. The U.S. has the world’s highest number of reported cases and deaths from the virus. Second is Brazil, which has reported roughly half as many cases and deaths.
The U.S. is seeing the number of daily cases almost double over the previous baseline high, rather than decline like many other countries, which is “a serious problem” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned at a news conference on Monday.
On Friday, 40,173 new cases in the U.S. were reported. That topped the previous daily record, set only the day before.
President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus and said it will just “go away” on its own, on Tuesday vowed to pressure states and local governments to open schools in the fall despite the rising case numbers.
The president threatened to cut off funding to those who don’t obey his order, and claimed Democrats want to keep schools closed to hurt his reelection. He further compared schools in the U.S. with those in “Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries,” which he said are “open with no problems.”
Trump’s school funding threat came after he pointed to the declining U.S. coronavirus death rate as an indicator of progress.
Fauci and other experts, however, pointed out that the falling death rate may be because younger, heather people are becoming infected.
“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” Fauci said Tuesday. “There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don’t get yourself into false complacency.”
Fauci urged state and local governments ― including those that bowed to the president’s pressure to lift restrictions and reopen businesses ― to mandate facial coverings.
“If you say that it doesn’t matter whether you put it on or you take it off, you’re giving a wrong, mixed signal,” Fauci said. “The signal should be wear a mask, period.”
Trump has refused to wear a mask in public.
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