Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Italy on Wednesday reported 7,332 new positive COVID-19 tests — breaking its previous record for most infections added in a single day — while the U.K. reported nearly 20,000 new cases.

Why it matters: Italy was one of the world's first major coronavirus hotspots, locking down the entire country in March as hospitals threatened to be overwhelmed, and the U.K. has Europe's highest death toll. After successfully suppressing the virus over the summer, many European countries are facing a potentially devastating second wave.

  • The Guardian notes that the U.K.'s daily case count is also its highest on record when "excluding a day when the total was artificially inflated by previous tests."

Worth noting: Despite the record high case count, which is partly attributable to more testing, Italy reported just 43 deaths on Wednesday. During its previous daily infection record of 6,554 in March, Italy reported 796 deaths.

The big picture: The 27 countries of the European Union and the U.K. have now surpassed the U.S. in terms of new cases per million for the first time since the spring, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Some European nations are beginning to reimpose coronavirus restrictions in order to curb the virus' spread, but most are hoping to avoid major economic lockdowns.
  • The rise in cases also comes ahead of Europe's winter, a period in which public health experts fear that colder temperatures could allow the virus to spread out of control.

Go deeper: Europe's coronavirus case counts just keep climbing

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.

The next wave of the coronavirus is gaining steam

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive is rising across the country, including in states that are also seeing a spike in cases.

Why it matters: High positivity rates indicate a worsening outbreak, and put together with the rise in cases and hospitalizations across the country, suggest that the U.S. is in bad shape.

Oct 20, 2020 - World

Ireland moving back into lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

A pub in Dublin Monday, when Ireland reported 1,031 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 50,993. "If we pull together, we'll be able to celebrate Christmas," Taoiseach Micheál Martin said. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland will return to its highest level of lockdown restrictions this week to combat surging coronavirus cases, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced Monday evening.

Why it matters: The country is the first in Europe to announce a return to a nationwide lockdown. Martin described the measures that'll see non-essential retailers close, home visits banned and a three-mile travel limit imposed from midnight Wednesday as "probably Europe's strictest regime." Bars, cafes and restaurants can only serve takeout meals only under the measures, which will last for six weeks.

Go deeper: In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe