(Bloomberg) -- Covid-19 continues to creep back into the early, deadly centers of the U.S. outbreak: New York reported nearly 2,500 daily cases, the most since May, while New Jersey’s positive test rate and hospitalizations reached a five-month high.The virus’s surge in the Midwest rose to a record, led by new highs in Illinois, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota as the region’s outbreak spread toward both coasts. The seven-day average of new cases per million residents hit 373, well above anything recorded by the Northeast and South during their respective surges in April and July.Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease doctor, predicted it could take until the end of 2021 at least for social life in the U.S. to return to normal even with an effective vaccine. Meanwhile, Japan is planning a sixfold increase in its testing capacity, NHK said. Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases exceed 44.6 million; deaths top 1.17 millionMidwest extends Covid-19 surge, with records in Iowa, KansasPelosi says she’s awaiting Mnuchin answers to resume aid talksConcerns about virus on food imports are real, expert saysOperation Warp Speed could shape up to be an $18 billion bargainConcerns about virus on food imports are real, experts sayVaccine Tracker: Clinical trials restart, providing hopeSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.Tokyo to Boost Testing Capacity Six Times, NHK Says (6:59 a.m. HK)The Tokyo government is set to boost the daily coronavirus testing capacity to about 60,000 tests from current 10,200 as the flu season begins, NHK reported.The government will deploy antigen tests in addition to PCR tests to boost the capacity by year end. U.K. Hosts Call on Virus Measures (6:25 a.m. HK)U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak hosted a call with the finance ministers of “Five Eyes” nations, which include Australia, Canada and the U.S., Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.The ministers discussed national economic coronavirus support measures and the steps taken to protect and create jobs. The ministers also shared updates on policy responses in place.Utah Issues Alert on Medical System (5 p.m. NY)Utah Governor Gary Herbert warned that the state’s hospital system is at risk of being overwhelmed as the virus continues its surge there. “We’re very concerned about the direction we’re going now,” he told reporters. “The hospitals just frankly can’t keep up.”Hospitalizations for Covid-19 reached a record of 317 admitted patients, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The state department of health reported 1,837 new cases Thursday, the second highest of the outbreak.Merkel Tells EU They Should Have Acted Sooner (4:27 p.m. NY)German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a wake-up call to fellow leaders in the 27-nation European Union by saying they all failed to step in to control the pandemic, according to officials familiar with her comments.Speaking by video conference, Merkel said that political realities stopped them from imposing restrictions earlier, and that they would have to draw lessons from the current situation and act faster in the future, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the meeting is private.Countries in the EU, where more than 210,000 people have died from the disease and nearly 6.5 million have been infected, have begun to impose new lockdowns in an effort to stem the crisis. Germany, the EU’s largest economy, will impose a one-month partial shutdown starting Monday, while France will enter a nationwide lockdown from Friday.South Dakota Breaks Fatality Record (3:55 p.m. NY)South Dakota, one of the states hardest hit as Covid-19 moved to the Midwest, reported 19 deaths, its most since the beginning of the pandemic. New York, with a population of 19.5 million, also reported 19 deaths on Thursday. South Dakota’s population is just under 900,000. The state added another 1,000 cases, for a total 43,000.North Dakota also set a record number of cases, 1,223, since the start of the outbreak, as the capital of Bismarck was beginning its first mask mandate, having followed the cities of Fargo and Minot. The state does not mandate masks or enforce other social distancing rules.New York Nears 2,500 Daily Cases (3:20 p.m. NY)The number of daily positive coronavirus cases in New York continues to rise, nearing the 2,500-mark on Thursday, despite Governor Andrew Cuomo’s crackdown and optimism.Of the more than 168,000 tests conducted statewide on Wednesday, 1.48%, or 2,499 were positive, the highest it’s been since mid-May. The statewide testing positivity rate was 1.25% without hot spot areas.The number of positive tests in the hotspot areas was 3.24%, including parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and Rockland and Orange Counties. The state also is monitoring increases near the state’s border with Pennsylvania.Daily death totals are also on the rise, with 19 deaths on Wednesday, the highest since June. There were 1,085 hospitalizations.France to Offer Lockdown Aid as Cases Rise (2:55 p.m. NY)France will offer aid to companies totaling an estimated 15 billion euros ($17.5 billion) per month of lockdown, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said as new stay-at-home measures start Friday.The country reported 47,637 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing the seven-day average above 40,000 for the first time. Deaths linked to the coronavirus increased by 235 to 36,020, while the number of intensive-care patients rose to the highest since early May.New Jersey Positivity, Hospitalizations at 5-Month Highs (1:54 p.m.)New Jersey’s Covid-19 testing positivity rate and hospitalizations hit their highest since May as Governor Phil Murphy pleaded with residents to help “beat back the second wave.”About 33,000 tests are performed each day in the state. On Sunday, the positivity rate hit 6.54%, highest since May 19, according to the latest state data.“That has become very concerning,” Murphy said. On Wednesday, 1,072 patients were hospitalized, the most since May 30.Illinois Cases Rise to Record (1:50 p.m. NY)Illinois cases extended their climb to a record 6,363 on Thursday, pushing the 7-day test positivity rate to 6.9%, according to the state department of public health.Statewide daily Covid-19 deaths climbed to 56 from 51. Patients hospitalized for the virus reached 3,030 and those in intensive care units climbed to 643, both the highest levels since June, according to the state. Nine of Illinois’s 11 regions in the next several days will operate under some sort of restrictions such as bans on indoor dining to curb the spread of the virus.Death Rate Higher in Wealthy Countries, Study Shows (1:25 p.m. NY)The death rate for Covid-19 is higher in high-income countries, which tend to have older populations, an Imperial College London research team found in a study.Wealthy countries had an estimated infection fatality rate of 1.15%, compared with 0.23% for low-income countries, the team found. The study analyzed 10 surveys of antibody levels within populations, an indicator of the prevalence of the virus. Return to Normal Will Take At Least A Year, Fauci Says (1:16 p.m. NY)Even with an effective vaccine, it could take until the end of 2021 at least for social life in the U.S. to return to normal, Fauci said on a Facebook live event.The earliest a vaccine might be available is the end of December or early January, he said. “I can foresee that even with a really good vaccine mask wearing will continue well into the third or fourth quarter of 2021,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Midwest Surge at Record (1:11 p.m. NY)The Covid-19 surge in the Midwest rose to a record, led by new highs in Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota as the region’s outbreak spread toward both coasts. Iowa joins Wisconsin among Midwest states with bad outbreaks that could be pivotal on Election Day.Surging U.K. Cases Above Average (12:46 p.m. NY)The U.K. reported an above-average number of new deaths and cases, indicating the country’s second surge of the virus continues to rise.The U.K. has so far attempted to control the virus through localized restrictions, but as cases continue to rise some scientists and politicians are calling for national measures, including a two-to-three-week “circuit breaker” lockdown. On Thursday, U.K. moved some areas, including Oxford City, from “medium,” the lowest level of restriction, to “high,” which curbs socializing.Some 280 new deaths within 28 days of a virus test were reported, along with another 23,065 cases. The U.K.’s policy response to coronavirus isn’t succeeding in controlling the disease’s spread, scientists warned, adding pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce another national lockdown.NYC Mayor Worried About Rising Positive Tests (12:39 a.m. NY)New York City’s seven-day average of positive test results has taken “a meaningful jump” to 1.92%, its highest point since mid-June, a development Mayor Bill de Blasio described as worrisome. The data, recorded as of Oct. 27, also showed a daily positive test rate for that one day of 2.70% -- twice as high as the previous day.“What worries me but we cannot allow that number to keep growing,” de Blasio said, advising New Yorkers to avoid travel and holiday gatherings. “We’re really going to have to double down.”Italy Hits Record Again (12:24 p.m. NY)Italy’s coronavirus cases reached a another daily record on Thursday with new 26,831 cases. More than 200,000 tests were carried out, and 217 deaths related to Covid-19 were reported, bringing the total to 38,122.Patients in intensive care units rose to 1,651. Hospitalizations reached 17,615, compared with the April peak of 29,000.Italy may introduce new restrictions on movement, and create a number of specific red zones in the country as virus cases surge.New Projection Shows Higher U.S. Death Toll (11:59 a.m. NY)The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an influential modeling group, is projecting a higher U.S. death toll amid a surge in virus cases and hospitalizations. The group now projects about 405,000 Covid-19 deaths by Feb. 1, representing a nearly 20,000 increase from a previous projection of about 386,000 deaths.“Europe is seeing a surge right now and Europe is ahead about a month from the United States. So basically we are watching what would unfold here in the United States,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences with IHME, said Thursday morning in a briefing held by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The full data are set to be released later Thursday, he said.Belgium, Portugal Reports Record Cases (10:34 a.m. NY)With 5,924 Covid-19 patients currently in hospital, Belgium has surpassed its previous peak from April 6. A record 743 people were admitted to hospital Wednesday, following a revised 690 on Tuesday.Portugal reported the biggest daily increase in virus cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 4,224 new cases in a day, taking the total to 132,616. The number of patients in intensive-care units rose by seven to 269, approaching the peak of 271 reached in April.Sweden Steps Up Covid Response (9:59 a.m. NY)Swedes living in Stockholm have been told to avoid shops, gyms, museums and any other indoor venues that don’t provide essential services, as a record spike in cases threatens to overwhelm the country’s health-care system.Sweden registered roughly 3,000 new cases, the highest number since the pandemic erupted. Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist and the architect behind the country’s Covid strategy that has so far avoided a lockdown, said part of the increase is due to more testing.Lagarde Says Economy Is Losing Momentum Faster Than Expected (9:40 a.m. NY)European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the economy is losing momentum faster than expected. While activity in many sectors has continued, the recovery in services has been slowing visibly, she said at a press conference in Frankfurt Thursday.The ECB gave a strong indication that it will likely boost its emergency bond-buying program to stabilize the euro-area economy. For now, policy makers kept the pandemic bond-buying program and rates unchanged. But the policy statement also said that new economic forecasts in December will set the stage for more support.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.