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US eclipses 3 million cases of coronavirus on a day it set a record high for new positive tests

COVID-19. (NIAID-RML/Zuma Press/TNS)

The United States surpassed 3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus on Wednesday as no other nation in the world has experienced more than 1.75 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. The virus continues to surge in the U.S. where Wednesday’s 62,751 confirmed cases represented a new single-day high since the start of the pandemic more than four months ago, according to the Washington Post.

Wednesday’s total also increased the number of deaths linked to the virus to 132,309, according to Johns Hopkins University. Brazil has endured 67,964 deaths, which is the second highest in the world. Brazil also has the second highest total of cases at 1.7 million.

The U.S. numbers are high enough for the European Union to continue to restrict Americans’ travel to Europe. On July 1, it lifted restrictions on some countries, such as Canada, but not the U.S.

The number of cases has to be close to or below E.U average on June 15, according to the Post. The European average is about 15 per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. The U.S. average is about 145 cases per 100,000 people over the same period.

Globally, the virus has infected more than 12 million people and claimed the lives of more than 500,000. Just six weeks ago, the virus had only infected about 6 million people worldwide, according to the Post.

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Within the United States, as cases surge health care workers again face shortages in PPE, a problem also experienced at the start of the pandemic.

“A lot people thought once the alarm was sounded back in March surely the federal government would fix this, but that hasn’t happened,” Deborah Burger, a California nurse and president of National Nurses United, a union representing registered nurses, told the Washington Post.

At the federal level, officials spar over the next steps regarding how to reopen schools in the fall. At a public school level, both President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said schools need to open in the fall. Each threatened to withhold federal funding to schools that remain closed due to coronavirus.

“We are looking at this very seriously,” DeVos said. “This is a very serious issue across the country. Kids have got to continue learning. Schools have got to open up. There has got to be a concerted effort to address all the needs of kids.”

DeVos said about 90% of government funding for schools comes at the state level. However, that leaves a small percentage that the federal government can withhold.

The countries listed by Trump have a fraction of the cases of the United States. Germany has the most among the countries listed in the tweet at 198,865 and has contained the virus as new cases have plateaued. The same is true for Denmark and Norway. Each country has fewer than 15,000 cases.

In Sweden, cases continue to climb, but the country has experienced 73,858 cases.

At the collegiate level, Harvard and MIT filed sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday seeking a temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement of a July 6 directive that would strip international students of their visas if they were enrolled at a university conducting online classes due to coronavirus.

“The order came down without notice – its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,” Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow said in a statement. “It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others.”

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© 2020 MassLive.com