The U.S. recorded a record-high 88,521 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing October’s total to over 1.7 million illnesses. Thursday also saw an additional 971 deaths, according to data recorded by Johns Hopkins University.
The sobering, record-setting number comes amid a series of lockdown measures implemented in hotspots across the country, while still others buck the advice of public health officials urging social distancing measures and mask usage.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told the “Fox News Rundown” podcast Thursday that some coronavirus restrictions will need to remain in place even after a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective.
Once the vaccine is approved, Fauci said, it will take several months to distribute to the population, and even then there will be a percentage of people who won’t get the vaccine.
“As that process evolves, you cannot abandon public health measures because the vaccine is not going to be perfect and not everybody is going to take it,” he said.
And while the Midwest has been targeted as a hotbed of coronavirus surges, plenty of states along the East Coast are experiencing spikes in hospitalizations and new cases. Maine on Thursday set a single-day record of new cases, while Maryland and New Jersey reported hospitalization numbers not seen since the summer.
“We’re reporting 1,663 new positive cases, pushing our cumulative total to 231,331,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy posted on Twitter. “These numbers are sobering. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.”
Reported mask use between April and June increased, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but younger generations still had room for improvement. In the CDC survey, those aged 18-29 upped mask use from 69.6% in April to 86.1% by June. Those over 60 increased their mask use from 83.7% in April to 92.4% in June.
However, the agency reported an overall decrease in other mitigation measures that Fauci had mentioned should still be in practice. Hand- washing, social distancing and avoiding crowds had decreased in the U.S., according to the CDC.
“We are entering a very dangerous time, where numbers of cases are rising dramatically, and younger Americans are potentially getting infected but not quarantining as they do not feel very ill,” Dr. Kristin Englund, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic, previously told Fox News. “This is the time to increase our education to the public about mask-wearing to 100%, and to pay attention to other mitigation factors… to protect our older relatives and others who are most at risk.”
As of Friday, the U.S. had tallied 8,944,934 cases of coronavirus and 228,656 deaths.
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.