NATIONWIDE — The United States hit another grim milestone on Friday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country, surpassing 8 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The news comes as the country hits a recent rise in cases per day – the U.S.' one-week average of new daily cases rose above 53,000, according to Johns Hopkins data, increasing about 55% in a little over a month.
7 states reported new records for COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday: Wisconsin, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Additionally, 14 states set records for their highest-ever seven-day average of new daily cases Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins data: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The worrisome figures come as the country's top health experts warn of what might happen as the country gets into the fall and winter months, when the weather gets colder, people start to gather indoors to celebrate holidays, and the flu season begins.
"You can't enter into the cool months of the fall and the cold months of the winter with a high community infection baseline," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warned in a John Hopkins virtual event.
The pandemic has also ravaged the United States economy. The number of Americans filing for unemployment increased last week to hit their highest level since August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 898,000, a historically high number and evidence that layoffs remain a hindrance to the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession that erupted seven months ago.
Thursday’s report from the Labor Department shows that the job market remans fragile, and it coincides with other recent data that have signaled a slowdown in hiring. The economy is still roughly 10.7 million jobs short of recovering all the 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring.
Meanwhile, discussions of federal coronavirus relief have all but stalled in recent days.
The United States leads the world in cases, followed by India with over 7.3 million cases, Brazil with 5.1 million, Russia with 1.3 million cases, Argentina with nearly 950,000 cases, and Colombia and Spain, which each have slightly over 936,000 cases.
This is a developing story. Check back later for further updates.