Americans defied pleas from state and local officials to stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday in the face of the surging coronavirus pandemic, triggering fresh warnings from health officials with the release of vaccines still weeks away. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden joined in the calls for safety, urging people to forgo big family gatherings, wear protective masks and maintain social distancing.
“I know we can and we will beat this virus,” Biden said in a speech delivered in a near-empty Wilmington, Delaware, theater to a handful of staffers and reporters wearing masks and sitting inside socially distanced circles on the floor. Biden did not wear a mask. “Life is going to return to normal. I promise you. This will happen. This will not last forever,” said Biden, a 78-year-old Democrat.
Deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 in a single day for the first time since May on Tuesday and hospitalizations reached a record of more than 89,000 on Wednesday as the country recorded 2.3 million new infections in the past two weeks.