Sept. 20 (UPI) — The United States set a record over the weekend reporting 1 million COVID-19 tests in a single day as deaths related to the pandemic continued to push toward 200,000.
The United States set a worldwide record with 1,061,411 new COVID-19 tests performed between Friday and Saturday, according to the volunteer-run COVID Tracking Project. Data from the group showed that the United States performed 94,211,463 tests with 6,733,110 positive results on Saturday, up from 93,150,052 tests with 6,688,827 positive tests on Friday.
Data gathered by John’s Hopkins University showed the United States reporting 199,411 deaths related to COVID-19 and 6,782,083 cases of the novel coronavirus as of Sunday afternoon, both the highest figures in the world.
The United States reached 100,000 deaths in May, when experts at the Institute for Health and Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicted the country would not reach 180,000 deaths until October. The university has since adjusted its predictions, estimating 410,000 deaths nationwide by January.
California, which leads the United States in cases, reported 4,265 new cases on Sunday for a total of 778,400 along with 75 new deaths for the nation’s third-highest death toll at 14,987.
Texas ranks second in the country with 686,534 cases and fourth in deaths with 14,893, including an additional 45 Sunday
Florida reported 2,521 new cases for the nation’s third-highest total at 683,754 and nine new deaths for a death toll of 13,459, fifth in the nation.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced 862 new cases for a total of 449,900 — ranking fourth in the nation — while the state added nine new deaths to its nation-leading death toll of 25,434 after having at one point been the epicenter for the virus in the United States. With probable tests, the total is 33,087.
Fifth-ranked Georgia reported 1,145 new cases for a total of 306,155 and three new deaths for the nation’s 10th-highest death toll.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates on Sunday criticized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, saying it is “outrageous” that many Americans remain unable to receive test results within 24 hours.
“I do think we need to own up to the fact that we didn’t do a good job. Part of the reluctance I think to fix the testing system now is that nobody wants to admit that it’s still outrageous,” Gates said on Fox News Sunday. “The U.S. has more of these machines, more of this capacity than other countries by a huge amount. And so partly the reimbursement system is creating a perverse incentive.”
Gates also said he was optimistic that the pandemic “won’t last indefinitely” forecasting an end in 2022 at the earliest and declining numbers in 2021.
“Thank goodness vaccine technology was there, that the funding came up, that the companies put their best people on it,” he said.