The United States passed five million Covid-19 cases on Sunday after adding one million new cases in just over two weeks, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.
The US, which has the worst outbreak of any country, recorded a total of 4 million cases on July 23 amid a surging outbreak in the south-east and south-west, and political battles over the Trump government’s response to the pandemic.
The daily numbers were down from recent peaks, with 56,070 cases reported on Saturday, a 1.1 per cent increase on the previous day. Total deaths are 162,441, the data showed.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the grim 5 million milestone “breaks the heart”.
“It’s a number that boggles the mind and breaks the heart,” Mr Biden wrote on the Medium website at the weekend.
“Five million is more than the entire population of Alabama – or of more than half the states in our union, for that matter.
“Each time the number clicks up, it represents a life altered, a family stricken with anxiety, a community on edge.
“And for the families of the more than 160,000 souls who have died because of this virus, it is a pain that can never be undone.”
Mr Biden criticised President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic as the two prepared to compete in November’s elections.
“And yet, we continue to hear little more from President Trump than excuses and lies in an effort to cover for his repeated failures of leadership – failures that worsened the pandemic here at home and in turn deepened our economic crisis,” Mr Biden wrote.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday said the US was making inroads against the virus’s spread.
“Having gone through a very tough period as the virus spread to the south and west, it looks like we’re making pretty good progress,” Mr Kudlow told ABC.
“Am I worried in general? Yes, I’m always worried in general. Things have happened here that no one expected to happen – exponentially.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that an internal model by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers is projecting a rise in infections in August and into September and October, in the Midwest and elsewhere.
Mr Kudlow said he had “not heard anything about” that analysis.
Cases and deaths slowed in Florida and Arizona, two badly hit states.
Florida added 6,229 cases, a 1.2 per cent rise compared with the 1.4 per cent average daily increase over the previous week. Total cases are now 532,806.
Deaths among the state’s residents also slowed, to 77 from 182 the day before. The state’s death toll is now 8,186.