More than 1,000 people in the U.S. died from coronavirus in a 24-hour period, making Wednesday the deadliest day for the pandemic in America so far.
Wednesday marked the first time the U.S. reported more than 1,000 deaths from the virus in a single day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — a dramatic increase in the daily death toll.
The number of deaths in the U.S. has now surpassed 5,000 total, with the highest number coming from one of the largest hotspots in the world, New York state. On Thursday,a total of 2,373 people had died in the state due to complications from COVID-19, up from 1,941 a day earlier.
The U.S. now has the highest number of cases by far, with over 216,000, followed by Italy and Spain. Globally, the number of total confirmed cases of COVID-19 is at nearly 1 million, with close to 50,000 deaths.
Experts fear the death rate will only continue to accelerate in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease doctor and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, predicted the final could be anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000. Without social distancing, deaths could be much higher, the White House projects.
"As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it," Fauci said.
If the top of the White House's prediction comes to fruition, coronavirus would become the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease, which killed 647,457 people in 2017 and cancer, which killed 599,108, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the 2017-18 influenza season, the worst flu season in the last decade, 61,000 people died of influenza, the CDC reported. The number of coronavirus deaths could be on track to double that number, according to the White House.
The president has extended recommendations on how to slow the spread of the virus to April 30, after previously saying the country could likely to back to a version of normal by Easter. The next two weeks, Mr. Trump said Tuesday, will be a "very, very painful" period.
"This could be a hell of a bad two weeks. This is gonna be a very bad two — or maybe even three — weeks," the president. "This is going to be three weeks like we haven't seen before."