Surges in the United States and Europe have driven daily global counts of coronavirus infections and deaths to ominous highs this week. New cases surpassed 600,000 for the first time on Thursday, a day after daily deaths rose beyond 10,000 for the first time.
Globally, the virus has claimed 52,732 lives over the last seven days, bringing the death toll to more than 1.24 million since the pandemic began.
More than 49 million people have been infected since the pandemic began, and new infections have risen more than 27 percent over the past 14 days, according to a New York Times database. The harrowing milestone of 50 million cases is expected to be reached within days.
The United States accounted for a fifth of Thursday’s record total, reporting more than 121,000 new cases, a record it broke the following day with 132,797. In at least 24 states, there have been more cases announced in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch since the pandemic began, and total infections are nearing 10 million.
Europe’s outbreak is harder to quantify, largely because there is no single definition of which countries would belong in that count. By one count — from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan in its tally — total cases have reached over 11.8 million.
Europe accounts for almost every one of the 20 countries with the highest per capita new cases for the last seven days, according to a New York Times database. Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic top the list, and Austria reported a record high of 8,241 on Saturday, but Europe’s larger nations are adding far greater numbers.
Poland reported a record 27,875 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking its total number of reported cases over 500,000. Several other countries reported single-day records this week and then quickly broke them, including France, with 58,406 for Thursday and 60,486 for Friday; Germany, with 21, 506 for Thursday and 23,399 for Friday; and Italy, with 34,502 for Wednesday, 37,802 for Thursday, and 39,811 for Friday. All three, along with Britain and Spain, are at or near record highs in their seven-day averages of new cases.
And deaths are rising in more than 20 European countries, led by the Czech Republic, Belgium Spain and Hungary.
Hospital systems around the continent are strained, prompting officials to order fresh lockdowns. Germany closed bars, gyms and theaters on Monday. Portugal declared a new state of emergency on Friday, and Romania, which passed 10,000 daily cases for the first time, announced that it would close schools and implement an overnight curfew. Poland reported a record 445 virus deaths on Friday and admitted the first patient to its new field hospital at a stadium in Warsaw, and on Saturday, it shut most shops in shopping malls, theaters and museums.