CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The United States topped more than 3,100 confirmed coronavirus deaths reported in a single day on Dec. 2, a record high, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Thursday, 3,157 people died from the virus – that’s larger than the number of people who died on Sept. 1
This comes as the country approaches more than 14 million confirmed coronavirus cases, and on Wednesday, COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. exceeded 100,000, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project
“The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they are going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.
Health authorities had warned that the numbers could fluctuate strongly before and after Thanksgiving, as they often do around holidays and weekends. Because of reporting delays, the figures often drop, then rise sharply a few days later as state and local health agencies catch up with the backlog.
Still, deaths, hospitalizations and cases in the U.S. have been on a fairly steady rise for weeks, sometimes breaking records for days on end.
Nationwide, the coronavirus is blamed for over 270,000 deaths.
Thursday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, said at a COVID-19 vaccine roundtable discussion in Memphis that “help is on the way,” noting he believes the country is just days away from distributing millions of doses of vaccine across the country. Pfizer was the first to request emergency use authorization (EUA) for their COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. FDA; a meeting is set for the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to discuss Pfizer’s request for EUA on Dec. 10. Moderna has also submitted their COVID-19 vaccine to the FDA for emergency use authorization.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.