The US reported 99,325 cases Friday, the most for any country in a single day as infections and hospitalizations surged in the lead up to the presidential election. The total number of cases in the country exceeded 9 million, while India’s approached 8.1 million.

coronavirus factcheck asia 107 1024x683 - US COVID-19 cases top 99,000, global now over 45 million
(AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a final campaign sprint in Michigan, President Donald Trump claimed without substantiation that US doctors are lying about the number of Americans who’ve died from COVID-19, saying they inflate the figure because they’re paid more money for deaths attributed to the virus.

Total US deaths hit 229,686. Global cases surpassed 45 million. Italy and Greece reported infection records, piling pressure on their governments to follow Germany and France in further tightening restrictions on public life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would lift a ban on cruises in US waters, even as government scientists warned that ships are vulnerable to deadly outbreaks.

The new US cases reported Friday was the most since the start of the outbreak for a second day in a row.

The record came in the final days of a presidential race in which Trump’s management of the virus is a central issue, and infections and hospitalizations are rising especially fast in several key states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

It was the fourth time in the last week that a national record was broken.

The first COVID-19 case in the US was reported in January in Washington State.

The skyrocketing caseload has prompted France to enter a new lockdown.

The increasingly resurgent pandemic is forcing other countries to consider following suit – but Trump has vowed the US will not be among them if he wins a second term on Tuesday.

The US set a daily record for new infections Friday, charting more than 94,000 in 24 hours according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University – just one day after the previous high of 91,000.

Hospitals across the country were bracing as cases soar in nearly every state and winter flu season looms.

But on the campaign trail Trump, who says the virus will “disappear,” remained defiant.

“We just want normal,” he told supporters – many of them unmasked – at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life.

He again bucked his own administration’s health experts and dismissed the more than 229,000 Americans who have already died of COVID-19 as he downplayed the threat, saying “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.”

Biden, who has sought to turn the November 3 election into a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, has accused his Republican rival of surrendering to the virus.

“It is as severe an indictment of a president’s record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying,” he said in a statement Friday.

Virus fears have also hit Wall Street, which suffered its worst week and month since March on Friday with another losing session as markets gird for the election.

‘What are you waiting for?’

Belgium became the latest European country to tighten restrictions as virus numbers surge across the continent, which recorded 41 percent more cases this week than the previous seven days, according to an AFP tally.

Europe is now recording 241,000 new cases a day – compared to 15,000 at the start of July – and represented roughly half of last week’s global infections.

Some 14 European countries meanwhile registered a record number of hospitalizations linked to the virus this week.

Italy posted its own daily infec- tion record on Friday, fueling de-
bate about whether it should follow

France into a national lockdown.

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