U.S. passes 8 million COVID-19 cases

The United States has now seen more than 8 million COVID-19 cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Over 218,000 people nationwide have died due to the virus.

The country is now battling a fall surge, with 17 states seeing surges unlike anything they’ve experienced before in this pandemic, CBS News correspondent Mola Lenghi reported. More than 63,000 cases were reported alone on Thursday, rising closer to daily case numbers not seen since the summer.

Hotspots are flaring across the Midwest, with smaller, rural hospitals fighting to hold on.

“It’s not a joke when we say we swim in COVID,” said Dr. Scott Samlan, an emergency room doctor in Hammond, Indiana, a state that hit a record number for cases on Thursday.

“I think the scary part for a lot of us is that we don’t know how any individual is going to handle COVID,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell this week that the country needs to redouble its efforts to contain the virus as we enter the fall and winter months.

“What we really have to do is double down” on preventive measures like social distancing and wearing masks, Fauci said Wednesday. 

He stressed that the same protocols health officials have been advising for months — wash your hands frequently, social distance, wear a mask, and avoid crowds, especially indoors — are as essential as ever, seven months into the pandemic.

“They sound very simple, but people are not doing that and that’s why we have an uptick in cases,” he said.  

 Anne Yurek, of Lancaster, Wisconsin, said people just don’t take the virus seriously. “My uncle, my brother, my sister and then my dad died,” said Yurek. “I couldn’t even go to my dad’s funeral. We don’t get to say goodbye.”