The United States has surpassed 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases

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A person taking someone’s temperature through a car window. Getty

The United States on Monday reached 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The country has the most confirmed cases, followed by India with about 8.5 million cases and Brazil with about 5.6 million. At least 230,000 people have died from the disease in the United States.

Globally, at least 50 million people have been infected with the virus. The World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11.

The coronavirus has proved to be deadly and highly contagious, meeting milestone after grim milestone. By late September, the virus had killed more Americans than every war that US troops have died in since 1945 combined, Business Insider’s John Haltiwanger reported.

Scientists and pharmaceutical companies have launched hundreds of efforts to find COVID-19 treatments. In recent months, some companies have described positive results in trials of their drugs designed to improve the outcomes of patients with severe symptoms. Two treatments were granted emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

The long-term effects of the virus on patients are still unclear. These so-called long-haulers have reported symptoms including fevers, brain fog, memory loss, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, and blurry vision more than 100 days after getting infected.

The pandemic has also shifted the global and US economies, creating uncertainty and instability. Lockdown measures roiled markets, closed small businesses, and forced the world to adapt to a new normal.

For nearly nine months, people have been learning to live under new laws and recommendations from health officials. Quarantining, practicing physical distancing, and wearing masks have become standard in most countries.

After the rates of new cases declined in some areas through the summer, the US has had spikes in new confirmed cases in recent weeks. Experts and economists have urged Americans to brace for a difficult few months ahead. Pantheon Macroeconomics, an economic-research consulting group in the UK, said on Monday that the US could be “reporting 1.0 million cases per day” by the end of the year.

President Donald Trump initially downplayed the virus before promising a vaccine and clashing with congressional leaders over stimulus packages to provide relief to struggling Americans.

Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in early October. World leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have also tested positive.

President-elect Joe Biden prioritised the coronavirus outbreak in his plans for an administration. On Monday, he announced a 13-person coronavirus task force, signalling that he believes this will be an issue for at least months into his presidency.

As coronavirus cases rise in the US, health officials have warned against easing up on safety measures such as wearing masks. Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have predicted that these practices will last deep into 2021 and possibly 2022.