COVID-19 Cases Could Double to 20 Million by Christmas, NBC News Data Shows

A 'perfect storm' for new infections has been created

People in vehicles wait in line to enter a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site
Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United States could see 20 million cases of COVID-19 by Christmas if the coronavirus keeps infecting people at the current rate, an NBC News analysis of the latest figures showed Tuesday.

The number of new cases for the three-week period ending Monday nearly doubled to 1.9 million from the previous 21-day tally of 1.07 million, the data showed.

By Nov. 30, if this trend continues, the U.S. could have 13.6 million cases and by Dec. 21, that number at the current rate could climb to 19.9 million.

Pandemic fatigue and rising anger over having to wear masks and practice social distancing, coupled with colder weather driving people indoors where the virus is more easily spread have created a “perfect storm” for new infections, epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said Tuesday.

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