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.