LOS ANGELES - The United States has officially surpassed 9 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as health officials prepare for what may be devastating winter amid a recent surge of cases in the country.
The U.S. added another 500,000 COVID-19 cases in just one week, a grim new record. In that span, the U.S. averaged roughly 71,000 new cases per day, the New York Times reported.
The resurgence in coronavirus cases comes as many health experts warn that Americans could be facing a dark winter due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and flu season combined.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned in August that Americans could be facing “the worst fall” season in recent memory due to the potentially deadly combination of the novel coronavirus, the seasonal flu, and people who aren’t abiding by COVID-19 preventative measures.
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on October 29, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
More than 228,000 deaths had been attributed to the virus in the U.S. as of Oct. 29.
Mounting coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe are also imperiling economic recoveries on both sides of the Atlantic as millions of individuals and businesses face the prospect of new lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
In Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron declared a nationwide lockdown starting Friday. And in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a four-week shutdown of bars, restaurants and theaters. Merkel warned of a “difficult winter” as Germany's daily reported coronavirus cases hit a new high Thursday.
On Thursday, aides of Pope Francis announced that he would halt public general audiences and will limit participation at Christmas and other upcoming masses amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Italy and the Vatican.
For the U.S. economy as a whole, the renewed surge in virus cases is a growing fear. Add to that the failure of Congress to pass another rescue aid plan now that the package it enacted back in spring has expired. That $2 trillion package managed to ease the pain of the recession by boosting incomes and spending and supporting small businesses. Without additional aid, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has warned, those dynamics could re-emerge.
The $600-a-week federal unemployment benefit and $1,200 stimulus checks that went to most individuals under last spring's federal aid package enabled many of the jobless to rebuild savings, allowing them to keep spending even after the $600 supplement expired in July. Both are now long gone.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.