The United States topped 12 million cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, as the third wave’s uncontrolled spread prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to urge Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving.
The country recorded more than 200,000 coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 12,002,863, according to NBC News’ tally. The total number of deaths is 255,567.
More than 40 states plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam are experiencing a percentage increase in cases from over the past 14 days. Of those, a dozen states are seeing a spike in new cases.
Governors across the country have renewed mask mandates and limits on social gatherings in a bid to fight the virus.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers extended a statewide mask order that requires face coverings in public spaces. The new mandate comes six months after a stay-at-home order issued last spring was invalidated by the state Supreme Court in a lawsuit brought by Republican lawmakers.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Evers and six other governors said Americans need to work together to curb the spread of the virus.
“Right now, cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the Midwest and across the country. As the weather gets colder and more people head inside, it will get worse. It is more important than ever that we double down on mask-wearing and physical distancing to help more people get through the winter and protect those on the front lines of this crisis — our doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and truck drivers,” they wrote.
The governors went on to urge people to stay home for Thanksgiving.
“If you are planning to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, we urge you to reconsider,” they said. “As hard as it will be to not see them this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if their chairs are empty next year.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the state’s first mask mandate this week, requiring that anyone over the age of 2 wear a face covering when inside a public indoor space and when they are within six feet of someone who is not a member of their household.
Governors in North Dakota and Montana also issued similar orders.
During a call on Thursday with reporters, Erin Sauber-Schatz with the CDC said that in the last week the United States had over a million new cases of Covid-19.
Less than a week ago, the country had recorded 11 million total cases.
“We are really asking people to be flexible in their plans for Thanksgiving. In the last week we’ve seen over a million new cases Thanksgiving is a week away,” said Sauber-Schatz, head of the CDC’s Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force.
Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, said the agency is not mandating that Americans spend the holiday at home, but recommending it.
Pfizer and Moderna, two companies working to create a coronavirus vaccine, have each reported promising results from preliminary analyses of their Phase 3 clinical trials. During a White House task force briefing on Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that Pfizer could soon ask federal regulations for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine.
Moderna has said it intends to follow suit in the coming weeks. That would set them up to roll out the first shots in December.
Meanwhile, China’s President Xi Jinping said Saturday that the country is ready to step up global Covid-19 vaccine cooperation.
“We will fulfill our commitments, offer help and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and can afford,” he said.
And Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told G20 leaders Saturday that the country is ready to provide its vaccine to other countries who need it.