Four of the deadliest days in U.S. history were reported last week, with COVID-19 deaths surging across the country.
According to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University, 2,879 deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the U.S. on Thursday, December 3 — the highest number of deaths recorded in the U.S. on a single day during the coronavirus pandemic.
The second deadliest day of the pandemic occurred the day before, on Wednesday, December 2, with 2,804 COVID-19 deaths recorded.
On Tuesday, December 1, there were 2,597 coronavirus deaths recorded in the U.S. And on Friday, December 4, there were 2,607.
These four days aren't just some of the deadliest days of the pandemic so far — they're also some of the deadliest days ever in the U.S.
The deadliest day on Political Wire's list was the Galveston Hurricane, which destroyed much of that Texas city on September 8, 1900 and killed an estimated 8,000 people, according to a Census Bureau estimate.
The Civil War's Battle of Antietam, in which about 3,650 died, and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, which killed more than 2,900, were next on Political Wire's list. The list did not include the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which killed an estimated 3,000 people, and the historical record for a number of disasters in earlier years is inconclusive.
Still, Political Wire's list draws attention to the grim scale of daily COVID-19 deaths the nation is currently experiencing.
For four days straight, the country lost as nearly many people as died on 9/11. More people died of the coronavirus on each on three of those days than were lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed more than 2,400 Americans.
While the number of daily COVID-19 deaths is already alarming, the trend is getting worse, not better.
"As bad as things are right now, they're going to get a lot worse," Gottlieb said. "I think by the end of the year we'll be at about 300,000 deaths and by the end of January we could be pushing 400,000 deaths."
"We're going to see consistently probably 2,000 deaths per day and as we get into January toward the peak, we're going to see over 3,000 deaths per day unfortunately, and maybe get close to 4,000 deaths per day," he continued. "So this is going to get a lot worse before it starts to resolve."
Gottlieb foresaw a "grim future" ahead for the six weeks, with a peak in deaths and hospitalizations expected around mid-January. "People really need to protect themselves," he said.