US Coronavirus Cases Set to Reach 9 Million

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are poised to reach 9 million Friday after daily cases in the country on Thursday reached a record high 88,521, according to Johns Hopkins University.
 
The 9 million milestone in the U.S. is set to be reached just 15 days after the total number of infections reached 8 million.  
 
Dozens of U.S. states set records Thursday for new infections in a single day, including the midwestern states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio, according to Hopkins. Record daily highs were also reported in Texas, California and Florida.
 
The rising tide of new coronavirus cases worldwide is forcing leaders to consider new lockdown measures to contain an increase in infections.
 
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in an interview with BBC television Friday a national lockdown in his country is not inevitable to prevent the further spread of the disease, adding that a localized approach would be efficient if rules for each area were strictly observed.
 
Raab’s statment followed announcements by leaders of France and Germany earlier in the week to impose new lockdowns.
 
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide monthlong lockdown that will take effect Friday. Macron said restaurants, bars, cafes and other nonessential businesses will be closed, while citizens will be allowed to leave their homes only for work, shopping and doctor appointments.
 
Officials in Paris said people eager to escape the effects of the new lockdown created traffic jams Thursday evening with a total length of 730 kilometers.
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a set of similar measures in her own monthlong lockdown which takes effect Monday. In addition to restaurants and bars, all gyms, theaters and opera houses will be shut down under Merkel’s order, while the majority of businesses, shops and hair salons will be allowed to remain open.
 
Schools in both nations will remain open during their respective lockdowns.  
The restrictions were announced by Macron and Merkel as both nations struggle with a record number of new COVID-19 cases almost every day.
 
France and Germany joined several other European nations that have been forced to impose a new set of restrictions to deal with a second and growing wave of the virus as the cold weather season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.
 
Ukraine reported Friday a record 8,312 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, up from the October 23 high of 7,517, with total infections at 378,729. The deaths also jumped by a record 173, for a toll of 7,041.
 
In Japan, the health ministry said Friday that the coronavirus cases topped 100,000, nine months after the first case was reported in mid-January. Japan has more than 1,700 deaths.
 
European countries, meanwhile, are calling on the global community to grant the World Health Organization greater authority to independently investigate outbreaks after the pandemic exposed the agency’s deficiencies.
 
After European Union ministers met to discuss the matter, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Friday that countries should give the agency more political and financial support.
 
The WHO does not have the authority to independently investigate epidemics, forcing it to rely on countries to approve their lists of suggested experts and to abide by the agendas developed by them.  
 
As of Friday, there are more than 45 million total coronavirus cases worldwide, including over 1.18 million COVID-19 deaths. India has reached the milestone of over 8 million cases, second only to the U.S.

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