With coronavirus cases surging across the country, the U.S. reached a grim new milestone Wednesday of 250,000 COVID-19 deaths – by far the highest in the world.

Wednesday also saw 172,000 new cases and 1,900 deaths – making it one of the worst days of the pandemic. Cases in every state except one across the nation are surging to 1,167 per day as recorded last week from a weekly average of 821 per day in early October. 

Hawaii is the only state where the caseload remains relatively flat. Around the country, governors have raced to implement new policies this week, such as a nightly curfew in Ohio and a statewide Iowa mask mandate. 

 

Pennsylvania officials called for anyone traveling to the state to be tested before arrival Wednesday. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced sweeping restrictions, saying that “the new normal is no longer sustainable.”

 

As the numbers broke, President-elect Joe Biden took the lead, demanding access to federal resources to build a national coronavirus response. “This is like going to war,” he said. “You need a commander in chief.”

 

Wednesday also saw the closure of New York City, Denver and Kentucky schools.

 

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first take home COVID-19 test, presenting results within the hour, and the Pfizer vaccine shown to be highly effective will be submitted for regulatory approval within days.