A date that will live in infamy due to rioters attacking the U.S. Capitol has received another dreadful distinction: The deadliest day of the pandemic.
A record 3,915 people died of COVID-19 in the United States on Wednesday, per The Washington Post. That was the most fatalities on a single day during a pandemic that so far has claimed more than 360,000 American lives.
Of the nearly 252,000 new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday — the third-highest daily count — more than 132,000 were people in hospital beds.
Newly sworn-in Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kan., tested positive Wednesday night, hours after attending a joint session of Congress that met to certify the Electoral College voting results.
Early Thursday morning, LaTurner’s Twitter account said he was not experiencing symptoms and will not return to the House floor “until he is cleared to do so.”
The congressional proceedings were interrupted when rioters protesting the election results stormed the Capitol.
If not for the events in Washington D.C., the biggest national story Wednesday might have been the pandemic.
“We’re a year into this and we set a record death toll yesterday, and it’s going to be higher sometime in the next week and higher again in the coming weeks,” said Craig Spencer, director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
“Unlike this massive acute onslaught of insurrection … people have just gotten used to the fact that thousands of people will die.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 5.3 million people had received at least the initial dose of a coronavirus vaccine and nearly 17.3 million doses had been distributed to states as of Wednesday morning.
National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins told the Post that U.S. vaccine distribution got off to a “rocky beginning” but added he was not surprised.
“The next couple of weeks are going to be really critical to see how we can get this distribution system up and going more smoothly,” Collins said. “We had this remarkable plan that [Operation] Warp Speed had put in place to have doses ready to go the very next day after the FDA approval, but that’s a lot of logistics. … So maybe we shouldn’t be too shocked that it didn’t go like clockwork.”