U.S. is in an ‘absolutely dangerous situation’ as Covid outbreak worsens, top health official says

“Vaccines are around the corner,” Giroir said, adding that this is “really crunch time.” Americans should be doubling down now on public health measures that slow the spread of the virus.

“We all have to be incredibly concerned. We all have to be diligent,” he said. “We have to make clear choices, to wear our masks, to physically distance, and try to make a better choice every single day about where you’re going to gather, how you’re going to gather, and how you’re going to protect the vulnerable.”

Giroir’s comments come as the U.S. reported 161,900 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins data. That brings the seven-day average of new cases up to more than 157,300 new cases per day, up more than 29% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of the data.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic, more than 76,800 people were hospitalized with the virus on Tuesday, more than at any other point in the pandemic.

The latest weekly report issued by the White House coronavirus task force, which was obtained Tuesday by NBC News, warned of “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration.”

“We all know what the data show. The data are absolutely concerning,” he said. “I lose sleep at night over where we are in the pandemic right now, but we all also know how to beat this.”