COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania reached a new record daily high, the Department of Health reported Saturday, just as President-elect Joe Biden said he would announce a 12-member pandemic task force on Monday.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said case numbers there “are going in the wrong direction.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 4,035 additional positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 227,985.
That’s the highest daily increase of cases since the pandemic began, the Health Department said in a statement.
The number of tests administered from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 totaled 310,410, yielding 18,433 positive cases.
The commonwealth also reported 40 more deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,015.
In New Jersey, Murphy reported 3,207 new positive cases, pushing the state’s cumulative total to 252,582.
“Sadly, we are also reporting 11 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths for a total of 14,625 lives lost,” Murphy said via Twitter.
“This pandemic is real, and these numbers are going in the wrong direction,” he said.
“On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to help take the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will start on Jan. 20, 2021,” Biden said at his first post-election speech in Wilmington, Del., Saturday night.
“That plan will be built on bedrock science. I’ll spare no effort, none, or any commitment, to turn around this pandemic.”
The task force appears to be an extension of the group of advisers who have briefed Biden and Harris in recent months.
According to a report by Axios, it could be led by three co-chairs: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, an epidemiologist at Yale University.
In Biden’s home state of Delaware, multiple steps to contain the coronavirus led to drops of more than 80%, according to a new report from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report analyzed the timing of 9,762 new cases between March 11 and June 24 and these public health measures: investigation of identified cases, stay-at-home orders, a public mask mandate and contact tracing.
The report also found that, from late April to June, incidence declined by 82%, hospitalization by 88%, and mortality by 100% as masking and contact tracing were added to the other steps. The impact on incidence occurred weeks after changes, the report said, because new cases resulted from earlier exposures.
The report identified some problems with contact tracing.
Cases were contacted a median of eight days after testing positive. That may have led them to forget whom they might have been exposed to, which added to the risk of transmission. Eighty-three percent of interviewed patients either refused to disclose contacts or said they couldn’t remember.