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New COVID-19 Cases In US Cross 74,000 In 24 Hours

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The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States on Thursday was the second highest on record.

The country reported 74,301 new cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 8.66 million. Total deaths in the U.S. increased by 973 to 228,381.

According to U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar, the increase in cases are due to behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a "major vector of disease spread."

Azar said Americans need to realize the gravity of the novel coronavirus pandemic ahead of the colder months as reported cases and hospitalizations have spiked across the country.

Azar also expects that Americans will likely have enough safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available to inoculate by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, experts believe a rapid acceleration in COVID-19 cases in about a week.

"It's going to be a difficult fall and winter," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC. "I think we're about two or three weeks behind Europe -- so we're about a week away from starting to enter a period where we're going to see a rapid acceleration in cases."

Total cases worldwide have surpassed 41.87 million, while total deaths have increased to at least 1.14 million people.

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