The United States, with more than 3.6 million confirmed cases, is still seeing huge daily jumps in its first wave of COVID-19 infections. The United States reported a daily global record of more than 77,000 new infections on Thursday, while Sweden has reported 77,281 total cases since the pandemic began.
Despite the surging cases, a cultural divide is growing in the country over wearing masks to slow the spread of the virus, a precaution routinely taken in many other nations.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his followers have resisted a full-throated endorsement of masks and have been calling for a return to normal economic activity and reopening schools despite the surging cases.
Other hard-hit countries have “flattened the curve" and are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus while others, such as the cities of Barcelona and Melbourne, are implementing a second round of local shutdowns.
The number of cases globally is around triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization.
The pandemic has now killed more than 590,000 people in almost seven months, edging towards the upper range of yearly influenza deaths reported worldwide. The first death was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan, China before infections and fatalities then surged in Europe and later in the United States.