More than 77,000 new COVID cases reported in US on Thursday, breaking record

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ATLANTA — The U.S. reported more than 77,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, breaking the previous record set in July.

Nationwide, 77,640 cases were reported Thursday, exceeding the July 29 number of 75,723, according to NBC News.

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the U.S. continues to have the world’s highest number of confirmed cases — 8.4 million — and deaths, more than 223,000.

Globally, almost 42 million coronavirus cases have been reported, with a worldwide death toll of more than 1.1 million.

Seven-day rolling averages for daily new U.S. coronavirus cases have reached nearly 60,000, the highest levels since July.

According to Johns Hopkins, more than 8.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. since the pandemic began, more than any other nation. The U.S. also has the world’s highest coronavirus death toll, standing at more than 221,000.

Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming all set seven-day case records Tuesday. New Jersey has seen cases double during the last month.

The latest COVID-19 surges are happening as the Nov. 3 election approaches, results of which are likely to be interpreted as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.

Nationally recognized health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue warning Americans to forgo traditional autumn and winter activities such as Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Last week, Fauci said Americans would be wise to limit any planned Thanksgiving travel plans this year, due to risks of spreading the coronavirus.

Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday the United States is seeing a “distressing trend” with COVID-19 cases growing in nearly three-quarters of the country.

“We’re seeing cases increase in really all parts of the country — in the Midwest, particularly — likely in part because people are moving indoors with the arrival of cooler temperatures,” Butler told reporters at a briefing at CDC headquarters in Atlanta.

“Another factor is that smaller, more intimate gatherings of family, friends and neighbors may be driving infections as well, especially as these gatherings move indoors and adherence to face coverings and social distancing may not be optimal.”

Surges in coronavirus cases have led hospitals in Rocky Mountain states to raise concerns as their intensive care bed space dwindles. Utah, Montana and Wyoming have all reported record highs this week for the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. Seven of 10 intensive care beds were filled in Utah hospitals and about six in 10 in Montana.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for the coronavirus — the first drug of its kind to receive the federal government’s imprimatur during the ongoing pandemic, according to numerous sources.

Gilead Sciences, the drug’s maker, said the medicine, which is administered intravenously, would only be used in cases that required hospitalization.

The drug will be sold under the brand name Veklury, according to The Associated Press.

The treatment has been known to shorten recovery times and those who took an experimental form of the drug during its test trial in the spring recovered faster than those who took a placebo, according to a report published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Remdesivir was used to treat Trump when he was hospitalized for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month after testing positive for the virus.

The FDA had previously granted an emergency authorization to use the drug on patients although it hadn’t been formally approved until now.

The drug has gotten mixed reviews by public health officials.

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©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)