(CNN/CBS13) — While the United States has largely been focused on the slow drip of the presidential election results this week, the coronavirus pandemic reached startling new heights within the country.
The US beat its own record of new daily cases for the third straight day, topping 100,000 a day since Wednesday. On Friday, the US reported more than 126,000 new cases — the highest one-day tally yet, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Daily infection tallies are regularly setting records, officials are reporting sharp increases in hospitalized patients and daily deaths are also climbing. The US reported more than 1,140 coronavirus deaths Friday, the fourth straight day that count has surpassed 1,000.
The pandemic will soon become the primary concern of President-elect Joe Biden, who was projected by CBS News on Saturday as the winner of the 2020 election.
“Our work will begin with getting COVID under control,” Biden said in his victory speech in Wilmington, Del., on Saturday evening.
Biden said in his speech that he plans to announce a 12-person coronavirus task force on Monday.
Though the US is experiencing another surge in cases, the Biden-Harris win has sparked celebrations and protests across the nation, including in Sacramento where groups celebrated the pair’s win while others held a Recount California rally at the State Capitol.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 236,000 have died of Covid-19 in the US. Another 106,000 could lose their lives in the next two months, according to projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
With the virus running rampant in the country, many state leaders have pushed to implement new measures to curb the spread and avoid more hospitalizations and loss of life. Experts have warned that unless Americans heed safety guidelines like wearing masks and social distancing, things could get much worse.
On Friday, at least 17 states reported record high cases counts for a single day, according to Johns Hopkins. Sixteen states reported record-high Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And more than 54,000 coronavirus patients are now hospitalized across the country — not far from the country’s pandemic peak of 59,940 in mid-April — according to the project.
“We’re building up a lot of trouble for the future,” former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC “You have to be really worried what January is going to look like, what December is going to look like right now, given the way this is rising.”
Officials look to President-elect Biden for renewed Covid-19 response
Biden’s task force will be headed by three co-chairs, including former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. The move signals how seriously Biden plans to focus on the coronavirus from the outset of his transition.
Shortly after Biden as the winner of the election, political leaders expressed confidence in Biden’s future response to Covid-19 when he takes office.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom congratulated Biden and Harris in a statement saying the two will rally the nation together.
Together, @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris will turn hurt into healing and deep-seated divisions into common ground, repair our standing around the world and rally our nation together in this time of unprecedented crisis.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 7, 2020
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said he expected Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to “lead a strong and science-based approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding our economy and addressing the hardship faced by millions.”
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia highlighted the infections, deaths and unemployment that have occurred as a result of Covid-19, writing on Twitter, “The first order of businesses needs to be getting (Covid-19) under control & passing a relief package for the American people.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored the importance of his country’s partnership with the US.
“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world,” he said.
Three advisers to President Trump told CNN that his handling of the coronavirus was a massive factor in his election loss. A senior adviser said Trump’s dismissive attitude and misinformation about the virus alienated senior voters who rejected the President’s performance on Covid-19.