U.S. sets single-day record for COVID-19 cases

The United States has broken its daily record for new coronavirus infections. More than 84,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 across the country Friday according to a Reuters tally.

That’s a surge from the over 76,000 new cases reported on Thursday. And it surpasses the previous record of 77,299 new cases in mid-July.

Sixteen states also hit one-day records Friday. That includes five battleground states considered key in the presidential election: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The spike comes less than two weeks before the election.

Health experts haven’t pinpointed the reason for the rise. But they have cited factors such as colder temperatures driving people inside, fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students returning to schools and colleges.

The U.S. tops the world in cases and fatalities with 8.5 million cases and 224,000 lives lost.

And it could get a lot worse. Researchers at the University of Washington forecast the death toll could reach a total of 500,000 by February.