By BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — New daily COVID-19 cases in the United States hit a record 128,000 on Saturday as multiple states reported the highest number of positive infections since the pandemic began, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Saturday marked the fourth straight day new COVID-19 cases surpassed 100,000 in the country, according to the data. In just the past week, 715,000 people nationwide have tested positive for the virus, the data shows.
President-elect Joe Biden said in his victory speech Saturday night that he will assemble a coronavirus task force as early as Monday.
“Folks, our work begins with getting COVID under control. We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality or relish life’s most precious moments — hugging our grandchildren, our children, our birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us — until we get it under control,” Biden said.
He said the task force will be comprised of leading scientists and experts who will work on coming up with an “action blueprint” to fight the virus beginning on Jan. 20, the first day of Biden’s administration.
“That plan will be built on bedrock science,” Biden said. “It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic.”
An ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted in late September indicated that 65% of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S.
On Sunday, the number of coronavirus cases globally surpassed 50 million and deaths from the virus climbed to 1,253,707 as countries like France and Germany scrambled to cope with a second-wave of the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was nearing the 10 million mark on Sunday, and deaths nationwide rose to 237,425, according to the data.
COVID-related hospitalization also rose in all parts of the country, and the numbers are now close to those seen during the first surges, in the spring and summer.
Several states reported all-time high case counts on Saturday.
Illinois reported 12,438 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total it has seen since the pandemic began. Illinois health officials also reported 76 additional deaths.
State officials said hospital admissions have doubled or tripled in some areas of Illinois over the past 30 days.
On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pleaded with residents to wear masks when out in public and practice social distancing. The governor warned that more stringent mitigation measures, similar to his stay-at-home orders back in the spring, might have to be imposed to get a handle on the rising number of cases.
“It’s the last thing I want to do, but I’m ready to do it,” Pritzker said.
Other states were also reeling from climbing infection rates.
Wisconsin reported 7,065 new cases on Saturday, setting a new single-day record and bringing the total number of cases to 263,130 since the pandemic started. About 4.8% of COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin have required hospitalization, according state health officials.
Indiana also broke its single-day record for new COVID-19 cases for the fourth consecutive day when it reported 5,007 new cases on Friday. State health officials recorded 43 more deaths from the virus on Friday and said hospitalizations climbed to an all-time high of 2,036.
Ohio also reported on Friday that it surpassed 5,000 new daily cases for the first time in the pandemic. The total number of positive cases in the state has now topped 240,00, and deaths rose by 33 on Friday. Now 5,494 people have died of the coronavirus in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
The new Ohio numbers were released just days after Gov. Mike DeWine pleaded in an open letter for residents to come together, regardless of political affiliation, to fight a “common enemy.”
The Republican governor implored Ohioans to immediately pull together and focus on fighting the virus, saying “the stakes could not be higher” and “time is not on our side.”
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