The US recorded nearly as many COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday as the number of people killed on 9/11

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A man at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City on September 11, 2020. Wang Ying/Getty Images

The US set a grim milestone Wednesday by recording 2,804 COVID-19 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which was the country’s most in a single day and close to the number of people killed on 9/11.

The number surpassed another record — 2,607 fatalities recorded in one day — that had stood since April 15. More than 200,000 new COVID-19 cases were recorded nationwide.

Johns Hopkins revised the number after initially reporting that the death toll was 3,157, which would have been higher than the 2,977 people who died on 9/11.

The US is dealing with the worst coronavirus outbreak of any country. As of Thursday, more than 13.9 million Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 273,000 COVID-19 deaths had been reported, per Johns Hopkins.

President Donald Trump has been heavily criticised by top public-health experts over his handling of the pandemic. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat of COVID-19, flouting recommendations from his own coronavirus task force to wear a mask or face covering. In the lead-up to the election, he also held massive rallies despite concerns about the virus spreading in tightly-packed crowds.

The president contracted COVID-19 in early October, as have many of his top advisors and White House staffers.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, on Wednesday warned that the coming months could be the “most difficult in the public-health history” of the US.

“We are at a very critical time right now about being able to maintain the resilience of our healthcare system,” he said. “The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our healthcare system.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said that the number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the US on Wednesday surpassed the death toll on 9/11. Johns Hopkins University initially reported that the death toll was 3,157 — which would have been higher than the 2,977 people who died in the terror attacks — and then dropped it to 2,804 deaths.