U.S. Records Nearly 1 Coronavirus Death per Minute on Wednesday as Overall Toll Passes 150,000
At least 1,420 people died due to COVID-19 yesterday, the highest number of daily deaths since May, with California, Florida and Texas setting new records
The U.S. recorded 1,420 new deaths due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, the most since May — representing nearly one death for every minute of the day.
As the nationwide death toll surpassed 150,000, four states — California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas — saw their highest total of daily deaths of the entire pandemic, according to The New York Times’ database.
California reported 192 new deaths on Wednesday, breaking its previous record from the day before of 172. The state also recorded 12,904 new infections that day, more than New York ever saw, even at the peak of the outbreak there. California, along with Florida, surpassed New York in total COVID-19 cases last week, and as of Thursday morning, Texas has as well.
In Florida, new deaths hit 216 on Wednesday, also breaking the previous record from a day prior of 186. However, new infections are starting to decrease from the state’s peak of 15,300, set on July 12. On Wednesday, the number of new cases was down to 9,446.
Texas also hit a new record for deaths on Wednesday with 316, and North Carolina reported 42. Both states are also seeing their new infections begin to trend downward.
While new cases are starting to decrease in the South and West, the Midwest states are on the rise, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday.
“What we’re focusing on now is that there are a bunch of other states — for example Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana — which are starting to show that very subtle increase in percent positives among the total tested [for coronavirus],” he said in an interview with ABC News. “Which is a surefire hint that you may be getting into the same sort of trouble with those states that the Southern states got into trouble with.”
"Before you know it, two to three weeks down the pike, you're in trouble," he told MSNBC.
Fauci urged the governors of those states to “get ahead of the curve” and step up their public health precautions before their infections get out of hand. He advised universal mask requirements, closing bars “when possible” and encouraging social distancing and hand washing.
“If we do that, hopefully we’ll prevent multiple other states from becoming just like the Southern states,” Fauci said to ABC News.
As of Thursday morning, the U.S. has recorded more than 4,435,300 cases of COVID-19, and at least 151,194 people have died.
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 CDC, 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.