The United States set a record for coronavirus cases on Saturday, with more than 5 million people now infected, according to a Reuters tally, as the country's top infectious diseases official offered hope earlier this week that an effective vaccine might be available by year-end.
With one out of every 66 residents infected, the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases, according to a Reuters analysis. The country has recorded more than 160,000 deaths, nearly a quarter of the world's total.
The grim milestone comes as President Donald Trump signed executive orders intended to provide economic relief to Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic after the White House failed to reach a deal with Congress.
On Friday, the US Labor Department reported that US employment growth slowed considerably in July, underscoring an urgent need for additional government aid.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Reuters on Wednesday there could be at least one vaccine that works and is safe by year-end. But Trump offered a more optimistic view, saying it was possible the United States would have a coronavirus vaccine by the time of the Nov. 3 presidential election.