The United States registered its deadliest day from the coronavirus since May on Wednesday while also adding nearly 200,000 infections to a wave of new cases that is by far the worst the country has experienced at any time during the pandemic.
More than 89,000 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, another record figure that comes amid worries that Thursday’s U.S. Thanksgiving holiday will lead to even more infections with people traveling to gather with family and friends.
Officials in many states have put restrictions in place to slow the spread of the virus. However, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary order blocking New York state from enforcing attendance limits at houses of worship in areas that have infection spikes.
In a 5-4 vote, the court sided with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations that challenged the system put in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The majority opinion pointed to limits of 10 or 25 people in houses of worship, while under the same designation grocery stores and other essential businesses can operate without capacity restrictions.
Chief Justice John Roberts, the only conservative justice who did not join the majority, said in his dissent that “it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”
South Korea, one of the early hotspots in the pandemic is also in the midst of a new surge in cases, reporting more than 500 daily infections for the first time since early March.
The rise in new cases comes a month after the government decided to ease strict social distancing rules in Seoul and its surrounding regions. Those measure were put in place during the last spike in August, and this week the government opted to reimpose them.
Russia on Thursday reported its record one-day increase of 25,487 COVID-19 infections, pushing its total to nearly 2.2 million. Its 524 deaths during a 24-hour span were also a record for the country.
In Germany, nearly 400 new deaths pushed that country’s toll to more than 15,000 since the pandemic began.
The German government decided in early November to close restaurants, bars and sports facilities to combat a record rise in infections. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the governors of Germany’s states agreed late Wednesday to extend the restrictions through Dec. 20.
There have been more than 60.4 million reported cases worldwide, with 1.4 million deaths.
The United States has been hit the hardest, followed by Brazil with 170,000 dead, India with 135,000 dead, and Mexico at 103,000 dead.