U.S. Marks Third Straight Day of Record Coronavirus Cases, Joe Biden to Name COVID-19 Task Force

The U.S. reported 132,700 new coronavirus cases on Friday

Health Care Professionals Treat Coronavirus Patients
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More than 132,700 new coronavirus cases were reported across the U.S. on Friday, breaking the record of daily cases for the third straight day.

There were also more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported for the fourth straight day, numbers that have not been seen since August, according to a New York Times database. As of Friday, there have been more than 9,815,400 total cases of COVID-19 and at least 236,400 deaths in the country.

The steady surge in coronavirus infections comes as the 2020 presidential election was called in favor of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Saturday. According to a report from Axios, the now-president-elect plans to name a 12-member task force on Monday.

The task force will be led by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the outlet reported.

Health Care Professionals Work On The Frontlines Of COVID-19 Pandemic In Maryland Hospital
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Biden, 77, and Harris, 56, have made their coronavirus response a key part of their campaign, with the former vice president telling Americans in a speech on Friday evening that the pandemic “is getting more worrisome all across the country.”

"Daily cases are skyrocketing, and it's now believed we could see as many as 200,000 cases in a single day," Biden said. "I want you to know that I’ll work hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me. That’s the job. That's the job. It’s called the duty of care for all Americans."

President Donald Trump has not yet addressed the new record-breaking numbers, which have affected nearly every region in the country. At least 17 states reported single day records for new cases on Friday and four states — Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Utah — reported a record number of deaths, according to the Times.

Also, 27 states have seen more cases reported in the past week than in any other seven-day period since the pandemic first took hold in the U.S. in March. The average number of people currently hospitalized with the virus is up by at least 5 percent in 38 states, CNBC reported.

The rising case numbers are worrying health officials, especially as colder weather sets in across much of the country, pushing people indoors where the virus is more likely to spread.

“We are heading into a dark time, and we have to be extremely careful right now not to overwhelm our hospitals,” epidemiologist Ali Mokdad told The Washington Post. “Time for unity. Time to face our common enemy.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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