The United States on Monday surpassed 6 million confirmed coronavirus cases to go along with the world-leading 183,000 deaths the country has recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Four Midwestern states recently reported record one-day increases in new cases: Iowa (about 785), North Dakota (about 375), South Dakota (about 425) and Minnesota (about 1,000), all according to Johns Hopkins.
Meanwhile, Montana and Idaho say their numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are also setting records.
While the Midwest is the newest coronavirus hot spot, the nation as a whole is seeing declines in deaths, hospitalizations, positivity rates and new cases.
The spike of new cases can be traced to large gatherings. In Iowa, the counties that are home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are reporting many of the new cases. Both schools are holding some in-person classes. Other infections have been traced to an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, including 88 cases in South Dakota alone.
While the United States has the most recorded infections in the world, it ranks 10th based on cases per capita, with Brazil, Peru and Chile having higher rates of infection, according to a Reuters tally.
The United States also has the most deaths in the world at just over 183,000, but it ranks 11th for deaths per capita, exceeded by Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Chile, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Peru, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, French children are to return to their classrooms, but the country’s education minister said Sunday that a rise in coronavirus infections is putting those plans in jeopardy.
France is reporting several thousand new infections every day. With two days to go before classes begin, French doctors are calling for stricter measures, including masks for students as young as 6 and some online schooling.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that some classes will remain closed Tuesday, but "as few as possible."
The current plan is for French schools to resume classes with masks required all day for everyone 11 and older, and with some restrictions on movements and gatherings.
Other European countries, such as Denmark, and many school districts in the U.S. are fully revamping the school day, with smaller classes, more teachers, more separation between students and classes and a mix of in-class and online learning.
Italy, one of the early coronavirus hot spots, has seen the number of people hospitalized in intensive care units rise in recent weeks, with 86 COVID-19 patients on Sunday compared to 38 a month ago.
In New Zealand, which has worked to stamp out an outbreak in its largest city, Auckland, schools and businesses reopened Monday, while authorities mandated wearing face masks for public transit users across the country.
"We have a plan that we know will work,” Ardern told reporters. “We just need everyone's compliance and help. If everyone sticks to those guidelines and rules, coupled together with all the public health measures that we have, we can make this work.”