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Coronavirus update: U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 250,000, and hospitalizations reach another record

U.S. coronavirus deaths topped the grim quarter-million mark, as the latest wave of infections continues to surge across the nation.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 250,652 Americans have died from COVID-19 so far, as confirmed cases topped 11.5 million.

The totals come after at least 1,923 people died from the coronavirus illness COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to New York
Times data
, and 172,391 new cases were recorded. That lifted the daily average of new cases in the past week to 162,816, up 77% from the average two weeks ago.

Also read: Biden says Trump administration’s failure to recognize his election win may delay rollout of coronavirus vaccine

Hospitalizations increased to 79,410 on Wednesday, marking a record for the ninth-straight day, according to data provided by the COVID Tracking Project. The previous two waves of rising hospitalizations both peaked below the 60,000 mark, at 59,773 on April 21 and at 59,712 on July 23.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) rose to 15,350, also a record. The number of people on ventilators rose to 4,701, which was well above levels seen during the second-wave peak in July, but below the first-wave peak of 7,070 in May.

Don’t miss: ‘Depressed, disheartened and tired to the bone’: Coronavirus overwhelms U.S. hospitals.

The latest surge in cases and deaths have led to new restrictions in a number of states and cities.

Also see: New York City to close schools again as virus cases rise above 3% threshold.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a call Thursday urged Americans not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. But for those who will travel, the CDC urged people to wear face masks and social distance.

Amid all the grim coronavirus news, there has been some very encouraging news on potential vaccines this week, including announcements from Pfizer Inc.
PFE,
-0.93%

and BioNTech SE
BNTX,
+2.96%

and Moderna Inc.
MRNA,
+5.03%

last week.

On Thursday, U.K.-based AstraZeneca PLC
AZN,
-0.19%

AZN,
-0.67%

said it vaccine it was developing with the University of Oxford demonstrated in a Phase 2 trial an encouraging immune response in older adults.

On the downside, there was still no update on the vaccine candidate’s effectiveness in Phase 3 trials.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., Brexit trade talks were suspended Thursday, after the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator tested positive for COVID-19.

Latest tallies

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide was 56.42 million, the Johns Hopkins data show, and the death toll is. At least people have recovered.

Brazil is second in the world with deaths at 167,455 and third in cases at 5.95 million.

India is second in cases with 8.96 million and third in deaths at 131,578. Mexico is fourth in deaths at99,528 and 11th in cases at 1.02 million.

The U.K. has the most deaths in Europe, and fifth most in the world, at 53,369, and is seventh in cases at 1.43 million.

What the economy is saying

New applications in the U.S. for state unemployment benefits rose by a seasonally adjusted 31,000 in the past week to 742,000, compared with expectations of a decline to 710,000.

That was the first increase in initial claims in more than a month, a the surge in coronavirus cases has put a new strain on the economy.

See Economic Report.

Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve’s gauge of business activity in the Philadelphia region declined slightly in November, after reaching a post-pandemic high in October.

And sales of existing homes for October rose for a fifth consecutive month, with sales growing in every region as the supply of homes continued to drop.

What companies are saying

Alaska Air Group Inc.
ALK,
-0.31%

provided a downbeat outlook for November, in which traffic is expected to decline from October while cash burn increases. “We believe that renewed restrictions by many state and local governments have negatively impacted demand in the immediate term,” the company said in a statement. “Future booking patterns remain difficult to predict given continued uncertainty in COVID-19 cases and timing of available vaccines and treatments.”

BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. 
BJ,
+0.37%

 reported Thursday fiscal third-quarter profit and sales that rose above expectations, amid “significant market share gains” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ” As we look ahead, we are confident our business will continue to thrive given the structural shift in consumer behavior, our market share gains and our strategic investments in digital capabilities, membership, assortment, marketing and geographic expansion ,” said Chief Executive Lee Delaney.

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