The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July.
Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News.
The record-breaking daily tally comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with 224,280 deaths. There were 921 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Thursday.
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Public health officials warned this week that the number of cases is rising across most of the country.
Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday afternoon that the agency has noted a “distressing trend” in which coronavirus case numbers are “increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country.”
Much of the increase is centered in the Midwest. States like Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin have recorded rises in case numbers in the last two weeks.
Public health officials attribute the spikes, in part, to cooler weather that is forcing people indoors.
“Smaller, more intimate gatherings with family, friends and neighbors may be driving infections,” Butler said, while also acknowledging pandemic fatigue among the public.
“We get tired of wearing masks, but it continues to be as important as it’s ever been,” he said.
Chicago is currently reporting more than 600 new coronavirus cases a day, the highest daily rate since the end of May, city officials said.
“We are, no doubt whatsoever, in the second surge,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference. “This is what it looks like.”
Starting on Friday, indoor service at bars that don’t have food licenses is again banned, just weeks after the prohibition was lifted. In addition, nonessential businesses must close by 10 p.m. each day.
Also on Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir to treat Covid-19 — the first and only drug so far to receive federal approval for the coronavirus.
The drug, made by Gilead Sciences, had been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA in May. But to get full FDA approval, a drugmaker must submit additional evidence to support safety and efficacy.
Remdesivir is now approved for patients over age 12 who are hospitalized with Covid-19. It is given intravenously, generally for five days.