However, the Thanksgiving holiday caused bias in reporting at the end of the week, with a sharp drop in new cases on Thursday and a big jump on Friday. Many states did not report Thanksgiving Day data when the national number rose by more than 103,000 cases and more than 1,100 deaths – far fewer than last Thursday, November 19, when 187,000 cases and 1,962 deaths were recorded.
Because of this, the numbers were artificially high on Friday when many states reported two days worth of data. That was the first time the country had passed 200,000 cases in a single day. By late Friday evening, more than 205,000 cases had been reported and there were more than 1,400 deaths. On the previous Friday, November 20, more than 198,600 infections and more than 1,950 deaths were reported.
The blurry data could persist. Access to testing across the country is likely to have decreased for a few days, meaning more infections could go untold. In Louisiana, the National Guard-operated test sites should be closed on both Thursday and Friday. In Wisconsin, some National Guard test sites are closed all week.
Many hospitals across the country are already overcrowded and struggling to keep up with the increasing numbers of patients in need of care, and pressures on the health system are likely to only increase. According to the Covid Tracking Project, hospital stays hit a daily record of 91,635 on Saturday.
The country’s monthly case numbers have changed significantly, but have skyrocketed in the past two months. Officials announced more than 188,000 cases for the month of March, followed by a significantly higher 887,000 cases for April. From there, the monthly totals dropped to more than 723,500 in May and rose to over 854,000 after the Memorial Day holiday in June. That number rose to over 1,918,000 in July, fell to more than 1,473,000 in August and more than 1,216,000 in September, and then rose again to over 1,946,000 in October.