U.S. Coronavirus Cases Near Six Million






© Elaine Thompson/Associated Press


Confirmed coronavirus cases neared 25 million world-wide, while the U.S. closed in on six million infections and other countries saw case numbers rise.

Several prominent U.S. companies are reporting a new wave of layoffs, as businesses reassess their staffing needs and brace for an extended period of economic disruption.

The U.S. reported 46,156 new cases—the daily case count has now risen for five days straight—and 976 deaths on Friday, the most recent data compiled by Johns Hopkins University show. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to more than 5.9 million. The total U.S. death toll topped 182,000.

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MGM Resorts International became the most recent big U.S. employer to announce staff reductions. The company said it was laying off 18,000 furloughed staff members in the U.S., as the slowdown in global travel batters the casino industry.

Stanley Black & Decker Inc. also recently told some employees they wouldn’t be placed back on the payroll. Salesforce.com Inc., Coca-Cola Co., American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. have all warned of looming job cuts.

The Treasury Department began implementing President Trump’s plan to allow a payroll tax deferral, an executive action meant to help households weather the economic fallout from the pandemic but which also faces some hurdles.

In many hard-hit states, college campuses have emerged as infection hotbeds. The virus is spreading especially aggressively on some campuses in Georgia, Texas and Iowa. However, at least one major university—the University of Notre Dame—has seen the rate of new cases slow enough to try returning to in-person instruction next week.

In Kansas, the Riley County Health Department said Friday it has linked an outbreak at Kansas State University to four sororities. “The leaders of local fraternities and sororities are cooperating with health department staff, but we have concerns that the safety messages are not reaching all of the members,” said local health officer Julie Gibbs. On Thursday, the school had 364 students in quarantine and 167 students in isolation, an increase from 149 in quarantine and 49 in isolation from the previous Friday.

At the University of Alabama, 492 cases have been reported in the span of three days. Dr. Ricky Friend, the dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, said the evidence doesn’t indicate virus transmission from in-person class instruction. On Monday, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and city officials closed bars in the city to slow the spread. “We remain concerned that off-campus transmission is our greatest risk, which is why we asked Mayor Maddox to consider that action,” University of Alabama Chancellor Finis St. John said in a recent statement. More than 1,200 students have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic.

Other countries continued to see additional cases Saturday. India reported 76,472 new cases of coronavirus in the country in the preceding 24 hours, taking the total confirmed cases to 3,463,972, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It reported 1,021 new deaths, with the death toll at 62,550.

The government says close to 1 million tests are being conducted daily for the past few days, with more than 40 million tests conducted up to Friday, as part of its “test, track and treat” strategy.

South Korea reported 323 more new cases, bringing the total to about 19,400. The country is reintroducing social-distancing measures in the Seoul metropolitan area, a step toward its level three restrictions, the highest of a three-tier system.

Japan said Saturday there 876 new cases for Friday, in line with a recent trend where the daily tally is below 1,000. That represents an improvement from late July to early August when a new wave of coronavirus infections erupted in clusters across the country, with well over 1,000 cases nearly every day.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said on Friday he was stepping down as leader due to health problems, cited a recent decline in infections as a reason for the timing of his announcement. The county is now reporting more than 66,000 infected and a death toll of more than 1,200.

Write to Dan Strumpf at daniel.strumpf@wsj.com and Talal Ansari at Talal.Ansari@wsj.com

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