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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

By the numbers: Over 218,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 3 million have recovered, per Johns Hopkins. Hospitalizations have jumped more than 14% from a week earlier, per the COVID Tracking Project.

What's happening: Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed, knows his job may not be over by inauguration day, but tells the Axios Re:Cap podcast that hasn't yet spoken with anyone on Team Biden about vaccine development or deployment.

  • Nearly 900,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department announced, the highest number since mid-August and the second weekly increase in a row.
  • Some colleges are creating a blueprint for how to safely remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, relying heavily on regular testing and doing what they can to curb parties and other large gatherings.

Trends to watch:

  • Vaccine: All of a sudden, it feels like we're hurtling toward a coronavirus vaccine — with the first doses potentially being administered before the 2020 election.
  • New risk factors: The CDC included more demographic groups at risk for the coronavirus such as younger people who are obese and who have underlying health problems.
  • When to wear a mask: Scientific evidence shows face masks can help control the spread of the virus, but nuances and changes in messaging about their use are complicating public health efforts.
  • Elections: A federal judge in Wisconsin extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots, siding with Democrats in a lawsuit to make absentee voting easier in light of the pandemic. Judges in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania have issued similar rulings.
  • Schools: Kids are heading back to school, as students, teachers, administrators and parents try to build a clear picture of how it's going to work.

Go deeper ... In photos: Life in the era of the coronavirus pandemic

Editor's note: The graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14. This article has been updated with new details throughout. Check back for the latest.

Go deeper

Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events

President Trump speaks to a crowd of 2,000 supporters during a rally at the Bemidji Regional Airport on Sept. 18 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Photo by Stephen Maturen via Getty

The Minnesota Department of Health has traced nearly two dozen coronavirus cases to three campaign events held last month, an official told Axios on Monday.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign has come under repeated fire for being lax about mask requirements and not adhering to social distancing and other local guidelines at its events.

Updated Oct 26, 2020 - World

Australian city Melbourne to exit one of world's longest lockdowns

People socially distance at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, Australia, will ease and state capital Melbourne's lockdown will end after officials recorded Monday no new cases for the first time in 139 days, state Premier Dan Andrews announced.

Why it matters: The state has been the epicenter of Australia's pandemic and Melbourne has endured one of the world's longest lockdowns. The measure will have been in place for 112 days when it lifts late Tuesday.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine in COVID-19 precaution

A political display is posted on the outside of the Fox News headquarters on 6th Avenue in New York City in July. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Fox News president Jay Wallace and anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum are among those recommended to get tested and quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19, the New York Times first reported Sunday night.

The big picture: The Fox News contingent, which also included "The Five" show hosts Juan Williams and Dana Perino, were on a charter flight from Nashville to New York following Thursday's presidential debate with a person who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

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