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World surpasses 40 million Covid-19 cases as the U.S. leads the globe in deaths and infections

In other coronavirus news: Trump goes after Dr. Anthony Fauci again and mocks Joe Biden for trusting scientists; meanwhile, CVS hiring thousands to battle possible "twindemic."
COVID-19 Testing Site Run By State In Reading Pennsylvania
A man gets swabbed at the state-run free Covid-19 testing site in Reading, Pa., on Oct. 13, 2020.Ben Hasty / Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Covid-19 cases across the globe hit 40 million Monday with the United States leading the world with the highest numbers of infections and deaths.

Nearly 10 months after President Donald Trump first downplayed the danger of Covid-19 and tried to reassure the American people that “hopefully, everything’s going to be great,” nearly 8.2 million Covid-19 infections had been reported in the U.S., along with more than 220,000 deaths, according to the latest NBC News figures.

And with the presidential election now just 15 days away and the Trump administration under fire for its handling of the pandemic, the number of new Covid-19 cases was climbing again toward what epidemiologists were calling a “third peak” of infections in just about every state.

Many of the new infections have been in Midwestern and Mountain states that weren’t hit as badly as the Northeast and the West Coast in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis, the latest figures show.

"We are really struggling," Dr. Todd Vento, director of the Infectious Diseases TeleHealth Program of the Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare, said on NBC's "TODAY" show. "People are doing heroic work, but they are really getting to the point where it's going to be literally unsustainable."

In other coronavirus news:

  • Trump attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci again after the nation's top infectious diseases expert said during a "60 Minutes" interview that he wasn't surprised that the president came down with a Covid-19 infection. "I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask," Fauci said.
  • Earlier, Trump mocked Democratic rival Joe Biden for trusting scientists on Covid-19 after Biden slammed Trump for continuing to lie about the progress of the pandemic.
  • CVS is hiring 15,000 people to contend with what public health experts are calling a possible "twindemic" -- the continued increase in coronavirus cases coupled with the return of the flu season.
  • New York officials shut down an Orthodox Jewish wedding planned for Monday in Brooklyn after getting reports that as many as 10,000 people would attend. Efforts to clamp down on Covid-19 clusters in mostly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods have been met with resistance.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democratic, won the latest legal battle with a Republican-backed group trying to stymie his attempts to impose restrictions aimed at curbing Covid-19. A judge denied a request by the Tavern League of Wisconsin to block Evers' order on indoor gatherings statewide.
  • Because of the pandemic, there was almost as much livestock as people at the scaled-back Arkansas State Fair over the weekend.
  • To stop the spread of Covid-19 in Mexico, only the dead will be allowed in the cemeteries on Nov. 2 to mark the Day of the Dead, which is when relatives typically bring flowers and favorite foods to the graves of loved ones.
  • Domestic violence homicides are on the rise in many cities around the country, local law enforcement is reporting, and the social and economic pressures of the coronavirus pandemic may be a factor.

Worldwide, there were 40.1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 1.1 million coronavirus deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard.

India (7.6 million cases), Brazil (5.2 million cases) and Russia (1.4 million cases) had the next highest total number of coronavirus infections after the U.S.

The virus itself is believed to have originated in December in Wuhan, China, which has reported 90,989 infections, according to the dashboard.

China also appears to be the first major economy to be recovering from the devastation wrought by the pandemic, reporting that its economy grew by 4.9 percent between July and September compared to the same quarter last year.

By contrast, the U.S. economy under Trump has been mired in the doldrums as it struggles to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, appearing on Fox News, said Monday he doesn’t “believe the Chinese numbers,” and accused China of using the virus to “expand their economy, extend their geopolitical reach.”

The most recent surge in new Covid-19 cases worldwide was being driven by Europe, which was reporting new cases of the coronavirus at a rate of 187 new cases per million people, the latest CNBC analysis showed.

The rate in the U.S. was 167 new cases per million residents, the analysis also showed.

As Europe was being battered by the dreaded second wave of the pandemic, governments there were facing sometimes violent pushback from residents as they tried to re-impose restrictions aimed at slowing the spread.

In normally peaceful Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, police used water cannons and pepper spray to clear demonstrators protesting re-imposed lockdown measures from the city’s historic Old Town Square.

In neighboring Slovakia, some 500 people described by the BBC as “neo-Nazis and hardcore football fans” pelted the main government building in Bratislava with bottles and stones.

The bustling streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted Sunday night as a new overnight curfew went into effect.

Switzerland made mask wearing in public places mandatory and the Dutch royal family was shamed into cutting short a vacation in Greece, which they embarked on after the Netherlands imposed a partial lockdown and urged residents not to travel.

“We see people’s reaction to media reports,” King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said in a statement. “They are intense, and they affect us. We do not want to leave any doubt about it: to get the Covid-19 virus under control, it is necessary to follow the guidelines. The discussion of our holiday does not contribute to that."

In Poland, conservative powerbroker Jaroslaw Kaczynski became the latest big name European politician to announce he was going into quarantine after he reported coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected person.