The hike follows a generally downward trend through August and early September. It was the highest single-day increase since Aug. 14, when the country reported 64,350 new cases over 24 hours.
The U.S. has now recorded more than 7 million cases and more than 204,000 deaths. New cases are on the rise in 22 states as Americans head into fall and face an increasing likelihood of contagion indoors and a complicating flu season. Some states have set new records in recent days too.
The Wisconsin Health Department reported 2,817 new cases Saturday — its highest daily total since the pandemic began. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) declared a new public health emergency earlier this week.
“Wisconsin is now experiencing unprecedented, near-exponential growth of the number of COVID-19 cases in our state,” Evers warned.
South Dakota also experienced its highest daily total — 579 new cases — since the pandemic began. A motorcycle rally in the state in August has been linked to hundreds of new cases in South Dakota and elsewhere.
In other bad news, a new study has found that fewer than 10% of Americans have developed antibodies against COVID-19, meaning hope of developing a pre-vaccine herd immunity is an enormous number of illnesses — and deaths — away. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported similar findings.
President Donald Trump touted herd immunity in an ABC town hall earlier this month, though he referred to it as “herd mentality” — which White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in an interview later was a “medical term.”
Trump told host George Stephanopoulos that COVID-19 would vanish without a vaccine. “Over a period of time,” Trump explained.
“And many deaths,” Stephanopoulos said.
“You’ll develop like a herd mentality,” Trump said. “It’s gonna be herd-developed and that’s gonna happen.”