More Americans died of COVID-19 on Wednesday than the number of people killed on 9/11

The United States set a grim milestone on Wednesday by recording 3,157 COVID-19 deaths and surpassing, for the first time in a single day, the total number of people killed on 9/11.

The terror attacks caused 2,977 deaths in New York City, Washington, DC, and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday also marks the nation's highest single-day death toll since April 15, when the disease killed 2,607 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over 200,000 new COVID-19 cases were also recorded on the same day.

The US is dealing with the worst coronavirus outbreak on earth. As of Thursday, more than 13.9 Americans have tested positive for the illness and in excess of 273,500 COVID-19 deaths have been reported, per Johns Hopkins.

President Donald Trump has been heavily criticized 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Wednesday warned that the coming months are going to 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."