MINNEAPOLIS — New coronavirus patients say they socialized over Thanksgiving with people outside their households, despite emphatic public health warnings to stay home and keep their distance from others.
That’s what contact tracers and emergency room doctors are hearing repeatedly from patients across the country.
The virus was raging nationally even before Thanksgiving but was showing some signs of flattening out. It has picked up steam since, with new cases per day regularly climbing well over 200,000 by Friday.
That’s a 16% increase from the day before Thanksgiving, according to an Associated Press analysis. Deaths are averaging almost 2,260 per day over a seven-day period, about equal to the peak seen in mid-April when the New York City was under siege.
The dire outlook comes as the U.S. stands on the brink of a major vaccination campaign against COVID-19, with the Food and Drug Administration giving the final go-ahead Friday to use Pfizer’s shot.
The coronavirus has killed more than 295,000 Americans and infected 15.8 million.