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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

Go deeper

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better": President Biden expects 100,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 during his first six weeks in office.

The big picture: Biden said he's putting America on a wartime footing against the virus, signing 10 executive orders today alone.

Updated Jan 23, 2021 - Health

Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

Hong Kong health workers patrol a street where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. Photo: Anthony Kwan via Getty Images

Hong Kong has placed tens of thousands of residents on lockdown to contain a new coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: It’s the first time Hong Kong has imposed a lockdown since the pandemic began. The restrictions are expected to last 48 hours.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 21, 2021 - Health

Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Women around the world have borne a disproportionate brunt of the social and economic effects of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Women in the U.S. and around the world already faced an unequal playing field before the pandemic. As countries prepare for the post-COVID-19 world, they need to take special care to ensure the virus doesn't permanently set back the cause of gender equality.