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US Sets New Daily Record for Coronavirus Infections


FILE - Medical personnel prepare to administer a COVID-19 swab at a drive-through testing site in Lawrence, New York, Oct. 21, 2020.

The United States has set a daily record for coronavirus cases as a new surge of the virus raises fears for a further increase during the cold fall and winter months.

According to Johns Hopkins University, at least 83,757 cases were reported across the U.S. On Friday, breaking a single-day record set July 16 by more than 6,000 cases.

With surges in northern Rocky Mountain states and the upper Midwest, the U.S. continued to lead the world Saturday in coronavirus infections, with nearly 8.5 million, and in COVID-19 deaths, with more than 224,000, according to Johns Hopkins.

A new estimate by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Friday said the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could surpass a half-million by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks.

It said the number of possible deaths could drop by 130,000 if 95% of Americans would wear face coverings.

The U.S. surge is similar to widespread spikes in Europe, where Paris, Rome and other large cities are imposing increasingly stringent measures to contain the spread of the virus.

The European Union's disease control agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, has joined the World Health Organization to sound the alarm over a new surge of the COVID-19 virus across the continent, as the WHO warned that the infection is rising exponentially.

ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said Europe is facing a major threat to public health and a "highly concerning epidemiological situation."

All EU countries except Cyprus, Estonia, Finland and Greece fell into a "serious concern" category, as did Britain, the agency said.

France surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, registering a record 42,032 cases in 24 hours. France became the second Western European country after Spain and the seventh country worldwide to pass that milestone, after the U.S., India, Brazil, Russia, Argentina and Spain.

People enjoy food and drink on a terrace of a restaurant before the nightly coronavirus comes into effect, in Paris, France, Oct. 23, 2020.
People enjoy food and drink on a terrace of a restaurant before the nightly coronavirus comes into effect, in Paris, France, Oct. 23, 2020.

As of Saturday, 10 of Spain’s 17 regions had asked the central government to declare a state of emergency to allow them to curtail the movement of people to contain the resurgent epidemic. The country reported 1,046,132 new cases on Friday, the highest number in Western Europe, as the death toll there approaches 38,000.

Poland is also seeing a sharp increase in infections, with 13,628 new cases reported Saturday. Polish President Andrzej Duda is among those who have tested positive, officials announced Saturday, as the country imposed more lockdown measures Saturday including a two-week closure of bars and restaurants and students beyond third grade moving to distance learning.

As coronavirus infections in Belgium continue to reach record highs, authorities ordered the closure of the country’s cultural facilities on Saturday and announced a longer curfew beginning Monday. Brussels, home to the European Union and NATO, is among the country’s hardest-hit regions. Belgium has one of the world’s highest per capita fatality rates, with more than 10,600 total deaths.

Germany's death toll passed 10,000, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country increased by 14,714 to 418,005.

Russia reported 16,521 new cases of infection with the coronavirus on Saturday after hitting a record high of over 17,300 on Friday.

In Greece, authorities imposed a nightly curfew Saturday in the Athens area and in other regions of the country with high infection rates and made it mandatory to wear face masks indoors and outdoors. The country has so far avoided the worst of the virus, reporting a relatively low 29,000 total cases and 559 deaths.

Hundreds of demonstrators in Naples, Italy, protested late Friday against a new regional curfew. Demonstrators threw smoke bombs and police responded with tear gas. Italy reached a new daily high Friday of nearly 20,000 coronavirus cases.

Researchers around the world are racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, which has killed more than 1.1 million globally and sickened more than 42 million.