Coronavirus cases around the world have climbed to record highs of more than 330,000 a day as the scourge comes storming back across Europe and spreads with renewed speed in the US, forcing many places to reimpose tough restrictions eased just months ago.
Well after Europe seemed to have largely tamed the virus that proved so lethal last spring, newly confirmed infections are reaching unprecedented levels in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland. Most of the rest of the continent is seeing similar danger signs.
France announced a 9pm curfew in Paris and other big cities. Londoners face new restrictions on meeting with people indoors. The Netherlands closed bars and restaurants this week. The Czech Republic and Northern Ireland shut schools. Poland limited restaurant hours and closed gyms and pools.
In the United States, cases have crossed eight million, rising by one million in less than a month. New cases per day are on the rise in 44 states, with the biggest surges in the midwest and great plains, where resistance to masks and other precautions has been running high and the virus has often been seen as just a big-city problem.
Ten states in the midwest and beyond on Thursday reported record increases in new cases, including Wisconsin with 4000 new cases. Deaths per day are climbing in 30 states.
"I see this as one of the toughest times in the epidemic," said Dr Peter Hotez, an infectious-disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. "The numbers are going up pretty rapidly. We're going to see a pretty large epidemic across the northern hemisphere."
Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious-disease expert, said Americans should think hard about whether to hold Thanksgiving gatherings.
Worldwide, deaths have fallen slightly in recent weeks to about 5200 a day, down from a peak of about 7000 in April.
Dr Hans Kluge, the head of the World Health Organisation's Europe office, urged governments to be "uncompromising" in controlling the virus. He said most of the spread is happening because people aren't complying with the safety rules.
In France, which reported mrore than 22,000 new infections Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron put 18 million residents in nine regions, including Paris, under a curfew starting Saturday. The country will deploy 12,000 police officers to enforce it.
Italy set a one-day record for infections and recorded the highest daily death toll of this second wave, adding 83 victims to bring its official count to nearly 36,400, the second-highest in Europe after Britain.
In Britain, London and seven other areas face restrictions that will mean more than 11 million people will be barred from meeting with anyone indoors from outside their households and will be asked to minimize travel starting this weekend.
European nations have seen nearly 230,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, while the US has recorded nearly 217,000, though experts agree the official figures understate the true toll.
"All of this does not bode well," said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. "Rapid increases in cases like we're seeing now are always followed by increases in hospitalisations and deaths, which is what is likely to occur across much of Europe and the US in the coming weeks and months."