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White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said Sunday on CNN that the U.S. has shifted into a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic, as infections have spread further into rural areas than in March and April.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections in rural communities have surpassed the number of cases in big cities — and areas in the U.S. with fewer coronavirus testing sites were predominately rural as of May.

What she's saying: "We are in a new phase. ... We are beginning to see an impact from the mitigation procedures that many of the state and local officials have put into place."

  • "But I want to be very clear, what we're seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas, and to everybody who lives in a rural area: You are not immune or protected from this virus."

Go deeper: Birx: Coronavirus surge creates "essentially 3 New Yorks"

Go deeper

Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

In the final week before Election Day, new coronavirus infections have soared to an all-time high — virtually guaranteeing that the pandemic will be the most prominent issue in America as voters prepare to choose the next president.

The big picture: Cases are surging and local hospitals are straining at the very moment that voters are choosing between President Trump, who continues to insist that the pandemic is almost over, and Joe Biden, who has made the crisis a centerpiece of his campaign.

Oct 28, 2020 - Sports

Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges

Photo: Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The Boston Marathon, which is typically held in April, "will be postponed until at least the fall of 2021," because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Athletic Association announced Wednesday.

The state of play: The BAA said it delayed the 125th annual event, which was scheduled for April 19, 2021, because road races are banned until Boston hits Phase 4 of its reopening plan. The city is currently in Phase 3 of 4.

15 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China