Concern is building as COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and as President Trump increases his attacks on the country’s top infectious disease expert.
"Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. ... I appreciate the advice. He's been wrong on a lot, he's a nice man though, he's been wrong on a lot," President Donald Trump said.
President Trump's comments alluding to a possible firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served under six presidents, comes after a recent interview Fauci gave to The Washington Post.
When questioned about handling of the pandemic, Fauci said Joe Biden's campaign "is taking it seriously from a public health perspective," while the perspective of President Trump's campaign is more focused on "the economy and reopening the country."
"Last night, Trump said he's going to fire Dr. Fauci. Isn't that wonderful? I got a better idea. Elect me and I'm going to hire Dr. Fauci, and we are going to fire Donald Trump," Biden said.
With new cases continuing to hit record levels -- far outpacing new testing -- President Trump is trying to paint a different reality.
"We're rounding the turn. They hate when I say it. You know, we're coming up with vaccines, and therapeutics are incredible," President Trump said.
New cases per 100,000 people are growing fastest in Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and, critically for the election, Wisconsin -- more than 30,000 cases there just in the past week.
Hospitalizations are up again, rising from just over 30,000 on Oct. 1 to more than 47,000 today.
Hospital systems like Banner Health in Arizona say they are now bracing for even more.
"Shows us that November, December and part of January will be difficult times here in the state," Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel with Banner Health said.
"We're going to see not just cases continue to escalate, but we're going to see perhaps 2,000 deaths per day two or three weeks from now," Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, said.