On the same day, hospital admissions for COVID-19 topped 100,000 for the first time. The 203,427 new cases registered on Wednesday was another record. More cases of ill-advised travel do not emerge until a week after Thanksgiving, and deaths at these gatherings of family and friends are days or weeks after they contributed to the totals.
The real horror of Wednesday's record numbers isn't that they were heightened by widespread disregard for caution during the holidays. It's like they weren't. What price the nation will pay for millions of travelers and oversized gatherings is yet to come.
That these dismal numbers come at the same time that the first vaccines are out just weeks before they arrive only makes it more discouraging. And frustrating. Current national leadership – an announcement of unified guidelines and restrictions to tackle what is arguably the worst moment ever – could go a long way in putting the brakes on in a runaway pandemic.
And on the day of this latest national tragedy, Donald Trump took the stage to deliver his “most important speech”. Unfortunately, that speech was a rambling tirade of lies about electoral fraud; one that contained all of the ridiculous allegations and terrible threats of Trump's attack on democracy.
On September 11th, the nation watched in horror, but also with a sense of national unity. After four years of Trump, in a pandemic that was 9/11 times ten years old, every death seems only to lead to more division.