The US surpassed Friday nine million confirmed coronavirus cases as Americans prepare for Election Day in the middle of a soaring pandemic.

A Johns Hopkins University study found 9,007,298 COVID-19 infections in the US since the outbreak began, as well as 229,293 fatalities, the highest number of cases and deaths in any country worldwide.

The US recorded 971 COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, according to the university’s data. The figure is down from records of over 2,000 daily deaths in April, but remains high as the number of daily cases break all-time records.

The country reported 88,521 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, an increase of 9,540 from the previous day, the data showed – a rate of about one new case per second, according to analyses.

Deaths typically lag behind new infections.

With the Nov. 3 general election happening in the middle of a worsening pandemic, millions of Americans have opted to either vote by mail or vote early in order to avoid crowded indoor spaces.

Over 85 million people have already voted, with some states recording turnout that has eclipsed the number seen in 2016, according to data being compiled by the US Elections Project.

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