The United States has now recorded more than 13 million coronavirus cases, representing around 4% of the country’s total population, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Nearly 265,000 people across the country have died of the virus.

The milestone means that the U.S. is now adding around 1 million new cases per week ― an alarming reality as the Christmas and New Year’s holidays approach and with them the temptation to gather indoors with loved ones at the end of a difficult year. 

Millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving despite urging from public health experts and leaders from both political parties. More than 3 million have passed through Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoints since Wednesday, the TSA reported. About 50 million people will travel by car by the weekend’s end, the AAA estimated.

State and local leaders across the country have tightened restrictions on mask use and social distancing as cases skyrocketed over the last month. States in the center of the country — such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas — have seen particularly sharp spikes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned Americans not to expect the holidays to be any more normal than Thanksgiving. 

“If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up, and you have the sustained greater-than-100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day, and the count keeps going up and up, … I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving,” he told USA Today. 

“For my own family, I’m saying we had a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas last year,” Fauci said. “We’re looking forward to a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021. Let’s now make the best of the situation and show our love and affection for people by keeping them safe.” 


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