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USA TODAY

The United States is leading the one-day record for new cases of coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, surpassing the previous summer peak.

In the midst of the wave, on July 16, the United States saw more than 77,362 new cases of COVID-19 reported. On Friday, the United States reached 83,757 new daily cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The news comes from a study by the Washington Medical School that more than 500,000 Americans could die by the end of February, in part because of the current bundle of COVID-19 mandates in the country and the inconsistent use of masks to prevent the virus from spreading.

“We’re heading for a very significant leap in the fall and winter,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Indicators and Evaluation at the Medical School in Washington. “We expect this jump to grow steadily across states and continue to increase nationally as we move toward fairly high levels of daily deaths in late December and January.”

The new cases could be a product of the virus’s seasonality, pandemic fatigue and the return of schools and universities, said Bob Bednarchik, an assistant professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University’s School of Public Health.

“In fact, a number of factors combine,” he said. “And what I’m worried about is that they’re starting to gather in a perfect storm.”

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Experts say that SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, is a seasonal virus that circulates more easily in the fall and winter months – like the flu.

Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health TH Chan, said that this seasonality is due to the molecular structure and biology of the virus andthe fact that people stay indoors during the colder months.

“None of this is surprising,” he said, “and that’s the nasty part.”

Bednarchik said Americans could also relax as the pandemic dragged on. People may start to see other people outside their “pandemic bubble”, may not wear masks in someone’s home, or mayattend a gathering with a few too many guests.

“Pandemic fatigue is a real thing,” he said. “People are just getting tired of wearing masks and staying away and making a personal balance of what they potentially feel about trying to get back to a sense of normalcy.”

Mina predicts that the jump in the cases will significantly exceed the jump observed in the summer.

The United States missed an opportunity to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in preparation for the fall, he added, and now the nation is facing impossible decisions.

“There really are no good solutions anymore,” he said.

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