The U.S. coronavirus case count passed 8 million on Friday amid signs the disease is spreading at rates not seen since late July as hospitalizations begin ticking up again.

The figure, based on a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University, marks the latest milestone in the pandemic and comes just three weeks after the U.S. case count passed 7 million. The nation accounts for more than 20 percent of all infections and deaths globally, with Covid-19 claiming over 217,000 lives in the United States.


New daily cases topped 62,000 on Thursday, nearly reaching the 65,000-per-day peak in July. A combination of cold weather pushing more activities indoors, a lifting of public health restrictions and school reopenings are raising concern that hospitals in some regions could be swamped with Covid-19 cases just as flu season takes hold, putting even more strain on health systems.

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