US tops 10M coronavirus cases amid surge in infections

Daily infections in the U.S. have topped 100,000 five times in the past seven days

The U.S. became the first nation to top 10 million coronavirus cases Monday afternoon amid a recent surge in infections that's been described as the third wave of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

About a million cases have been recorded in the states within the last 10 days, which was the highest rate of infections since the start of the outbreak, reports said.

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People gather in Black Lives Matter Plaza on Nov. 7, 2020, to celebrate President-elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

People gather in Black Lives Matter Plaza on Nov. 7, 2020, to celebrate President-elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Daily infections have topped 100,000 five times in the past seven days, including 131,420 on Saturday, according to Reuters. 

The number of reported deaths, which typically lag behind cases, have also increased. The U.S. saw more than 1,000 deaths on Saturday for the fifth consecutive day -- a trend not seen since August.

There was also good news Monday, as Pfizer said that early results from its coronavirus vaccine suggest the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, putting the company on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top-infectious disease expert, said the results suggesting 90% effectiveness are “just extraordinary," adding: "Not very many people expected it would be as high as that.”

The Midwest remains the hardest hit, with North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska having the highest number of new cases relative to their population.

Meanwhile, the South region has totaled nearly 43% of all the cases in the U.S. since the pandemic began, according to an analysis by Reuters

Texas surpassed 1 million cases on Saturday and accounts for about 10% of all U.S. infections. New York, originally considered the epicenter for the virus, has totaled more than 33,694 deaths, the most in the states.

Reuters and the New York Times both reported that the virus surpassed 10 million cases in the U.S on Sunday. 

President-elect Joe Biden said he plans to bring leadership to the U.S. outbreak, amid a surging number of cases. He has often criticized President Trump's handling of the pandemic during his campaign.

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Biden announced a 12-member coronavirus task force on Monday, which will be charged with coming up with ideas to help contain the disease once he takes office in January. Trump, however, has promised legal action in the coming days as he refused to concede his loss to Biden.

The task force will be headed by Vivek Murthy, the former U.S. surgeon general, and David Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

One of his first priorities as president-elect will be implementing mask mandates nationwide by working with state governors.

Trump called the Pfizer announcement "such great news" in a tweet, and Biden said it gives Americans "such cause for hope" while cautioning that "the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away."

Pfizer has estimated that 50 million doses of its two-shot vaccine could be available globally by the end of 2020, which could cover 25 million people.

The U.S. stock market soared on the news, which pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to fresh records. The Dow gained over 1,300 points or 4.7%, while the S&P 500 rallied more than 3%.

Worldwide, the coronavirus has infected more than 50.6 million people and killed at least 1.2 million since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

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The U.S. has totaled at least 237,742 deaths from the virus.

The Associated Press and FOX Business' Chris Ciaccia contributed to this report.