Setting a global record, US tops 1 million Covid-19 cases in 24 hours
More than 1 million people in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Monday as a tsunami of omicron swamps every aspect of daily American life.
The highly mutated variant drove U.S. cases to a record, the most -- by a large margin -- that any country has ever reported since the pandemic began more than two years ago. Monday’s number is almost double the previous record of about 590,000 set just four days ago in the U.S., which itself was a doubling from the prior week.
America’s daily case count on Monday was more than twice the number seen in any other country at any time. The highest number outside the U.S. came during India’s delta surge, when more than 414,000 people were diagnosed on May 7, 2021.
The stratospheric numbers being posted in the U.S. come even as many Americans are relying on tests they take at home, with results that aren’t reported to official government authorities. This means that the new record is surely a significant under-estimate.
The surging infections have led to canceled flights, closed schools and offices, overwhelmed hospitals, and strangled supply chains.
The data from Johns Hopkins University is complete as of midnight eastern time in Baltimore, and delays in reporting over the holidays may have played a role in the rising rates.
A senior Pentagon official said Thursday that the Ukraine war could continue for a long time despite Kyiv's forces recapturing the Kharkiv region and their use of substantial US artillery supplies. The official cautioned against analysts saying that Russian forces are stretched to capacity and could within weeks reach a point at which they are no longer able to advance.
The US Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would provide some $40 billion in additional military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine following Russia's invasion as the Biden administration predicts a prolonged conflict. The United States has rushed $3.9 billion worth of armaments to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, including howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and armed drones.
The Group of Seven agreed on Thursday to provide Ukraine with $18.4 billion to pay its bills, funds that Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said would speed up Kyiv's victory over Russia and which were just as important as "the weapons you provide". Further pledges of weapons also came on Thursday, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday he has authorized $100 million in additional U.S. arms, equipment, and supplies for Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday he was confident that Sweden and Finland would succeed in joining the NATO defence alliance and that Germany was doing everything possible to make that happen. At a news conference with his Dutch counterpart, Scholz reiterated that Germany welcomed the Nordic countries' bids and said he had the impression many other countries shared his view.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday said Russian forces had "completely destroyed" the eastern Donbas region and accused Moscow of carrying out senseless bombardments as it intensified its offensive. "In the Donbas, the occupiers are trying to exert even more pressure. It is hell there - and that is not an exaggeration," he said in a late night video address.