US surpasses 8 million coronavirus cases, death toll approaching 220,000
The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases Friday, as it added more than 69,000 new cases — the largest one-day total since the end of July.
The national total death toll is also approaching 220,000.
Case numbers are steadily increasing daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Health officials from coast to coast are scrambling to contain the rising rate of infections.
At least four states – Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina and Wyoming— reported their highest daily COVID-19 case count to-date on Friday, according to state health officials.
North Carolina, where President Donald Trump spoke to maskless crowds Thursday, set a new record for cases on Friday.
Florida is averaging nearly 2,800 new cases a day. Wisconsin currently has a positivity rate of more than 26% percent. For contrast, New Jersey's is just over 1%, as is New York's.
Trump took his campaign to Wisconsin Saturday, a state where coronavirus cases are now at an all-time high.
Agnes Kresch, an infectious disease specialist, says any gatherings create risk.
"At this point, we are recommending not to have any kind of gatherings, and even to the point of family gatherings where people from different households, their getting together is a risk too," she says.
Earlier on Friday, Trump said seniors would be the first to get any vaccine once one is approved.
Federal officials confirmed that CVS and Walgreens pharmacies have been designated to distribute free coronavirus vaccines, once they are approved, to long-term care facilities.
The latest research model projects more than 2,300 Americans could die daily by mid- January, and a total of more than 389,000 people could die from the virus by Feb. 1.