The U.S. reported 2,473 deaths caused by COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest number of deaths linked to the virus in a single day since the height of the pandemic in May.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, the nearly 2,500 deaths are the most the U.S. has seen since May 7 — the deadliest day of the pandemic thus far, when 2,769 COVID-19 deaths were reported.
Tuesday also marked the sixth-deadliest day since the pandemic began.
Deaths linked to COVID-19 have been on the rise since October — though the 7-day rolling average of deaths linked to the virus has dipped in recent days, likely due to a lack of reports from the Thanksgiving holiday. From Oct. 1 to Dec. 1, the 7-day average of reported COVID-19 deaths has more than doubled from 705 to 1,520.
The rise in deaths mirrors a frightening rise in COVID-19 cases. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the U.S. has recorded at least 100,000 new cases of the virus every day since Nov. 3. Since that time, the rolling 7-day average of new cases has nearly doubled from about 85.000 a day to about 159,000 a day.
And health experts expect deaths and caseloads to further increase in the coming weeks. Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, says the U.S. finds itself in a "very dangerous place" following the Thanksgiving holiday. She says anyone who attended a Thanksgiving gathering last week should assume they are infected with COVID-19 and take appropriate precautions.
With more than a million Americans boarding airplanes on Sunday alone following the Thanksgiving holiday, health experts fear cases will skyrocket in the coming days.
They also expect hospitals — already overtaxed by current COVID-19 caseloads — to admit even more patients with the virus. Currently, the COVID Tracking Project reports that 99,000 Americans are hospitalized with the virus, forcing some facilities to institute overflow areas.