The United States broke a pair of grim coronavirus records Wednesday, as the pandemic continues to rage throughout the country.

What You Need To Know

  • The U.S. set new records Wednesday for the number of coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations

  • There were 2,804 deaths, while 100,226 people were hospitalized with COVID-19

  • The number of new cases Wednesday surpassed 200,000 for the second time, and the overall number is expected to hit 14 million Thursday

  • CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned that the death toll could approach 450,000 by February if more Americans do not take precautions

The U.S. recorded 2,804 virus-related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That shatters the previous high of 2,607 set on April 15. 

In fact, the past two days have been two of the three deadliest during the pandemic. On Tuesday, the U.S. had 2,597 deaths. 

And in a sign that the daily death toll isn’t close to cresting, a record 100,226 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. on Wednesday, according to The COVID Tracking Project

Meanwhile, new virus cases topped 200,000 for just the second time. With 200,070 infections, to be exact, the country fell about 5,000 cases short of breaking yet another record, set just on Friday. 

The number of overall U.S. cases is expected to surpass 14 million Thursday, just six days after the country hit the 13 million mark. Nearly 274,000 have died since the start of the pandemic.

While vaccines are on the horizon — with the first doses likely to be administered this month — there were also dire warnings Wednesday about the weeks and months ahead.

In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predicted the country’s death toll could approach 450,000 by February if more Americans don’t take precautions such as wearing masks. 

“We are at a very critical time right now about being able to maintain the resilience of our health-care system,” Redfield said. “The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health-care system.”

Note: This article was updated to change the number of coronavirus deaths Wednesday after Johns Hopkins University revised its numbers.