Members of the Wisconsin National Guard test residents for the coronavirus Covid-19 in Wisconsin on 9 October. (Getty Images)

Nearly 70,000 coronavirus infections were reported in the US on Friday, marking the nation’s single highest confirmed daily case count since July.

The US surpassed 9 million cases this week as it entered the eight month of a pandemic that has killed more than 217,000 people. At least 69,000 confirmed cases were logged on 16 October, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

That’s just shy of the more than 71,300 cases that were logged on 29 July, as the US entered a second “surge” following a deadly spring.

The highest single daily case count was two weeks earlier, when confirmed infections hit more than 77,000.

By mid-September, average daily infections began to drop to more than 34,000.

New Covid-19 infections jumped by 18 per cent this week, bringing the seven-day average of new daily cases to more than 51,000, according to The COVID Tracking Project. At least 17 states have seen case spikes higher than any other point during the pandemic.

“After a month of warning signs, this week’s data makes it clear: The third surge of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States is underway,” the organisation reported.

New weekly cases have not dropped below 250,000 since June.

Hospitalisations and deaths also are trending upward.

More than 37,000 people were hospitalised for the coronavirus on Friday, the organisation reported. The seven-day average has climbed to nearly 36,000, and has climbed from 30,000 over the last month.

Dr Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the curves are heading “in the wrong direction.”

“That indicates people are really severely sick and they need to be in the hospital, and that curve has also started up again, which is troubling,” he told CNN on Friday.

“And that probably means, unfortunately, that we may start now to see also an increase in the number of deaths each day – which is the thing we most want to prevent,” he said

Nine states among the 17 seeing dramatic spikes are in the Midwest, with six in the western US.

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The Midwest has seen an 81 per cent increase in infections within the last month, based on seven-day averages, the COVID Tracking Project found, while cases in the northeast – which saw a decline in recent months following a deadly spring – have than doubled in the same period.

North Dakota and South Dakota have the highest per capita case rates – South Dakota’s average case rate over the last two weeks reached nearly 24 per cent, more than four times the national average, The COVID Tracking Project reported.

As nationwide infections reached 8 million on Thursday, Donald Trump told supporters that the outbreak is “ending anyway.”

“They go crazy when I say it,” he told a crowd in North Carolina. “It’s going to peter out, and it’s going to end.”

More than 218,000 people have died from coronavirus-related illness, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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US coronavirus cases reach 8 million as third ‘surge’ underway

Covid-19 surging again across US – Trump says it’s ‘ending anyway’

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