The US has set a new world record for the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalisations reported in a single day, as the country’s overall infection tally has surpassed the 14 million mark.
It took only six days for the country to add another 1 million new cases, Xinhua news agency.
In its latest update, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said that there were 196,227 new cases and 2,762 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.
With this, the overall caseload and death toll has now increased to 14,124,678 and 276,148, respectively.
The new daily case count set a new world record, bringing 7-day average daily increase to over 163,000.
Wednesday also marked the 25th consecutive day that daily case increase in the US surpassed 100,000.
The daily death count also marked a new high since late April.
The latest figure from The Covid Tracking Project showed there were 100,226 infected patients hospitalised across the US, the first time the number exceeded 100,000.
Long-term care facilities in the US were hit hard by the pandemic with over 100,000 known Covid-19 deaths as of last week, according to the tracking project.
Residents of long-term care facilities make up about 40 per cent of the nation’s coronavirus deaths and only 6 per cent of cases.
The Midwest remains the epicentre of the pandemic in long-term care facilities.
The region has seen the highest number of reported cases and deaths every week since mid-November, according to the tracking project.
According to the CDC, the overall weekly hospitalisation rate in the US is at its highest point in the pandemic, with additional steep increases in individuals aged 65 years and older.
Many states are grappling with the surge of hospitalizations.
More than 1,000 hospitals across the country are experiencing critical staffing shortages, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The reality is, December, January and February are going to be rough times, I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation — largely because of the stress that’s going to put on our healthcare system,” CDC Director Robert Redfield warned on Wednesday.
He urged Americans to continue mitigation efforts such as social distancing, wearing masks, limiting crowds and to not let their guards down during family gatherings.
Some states have imposed new restrictions in the wake of the of worsening situation.
California issued new stay-home order which will go into effect within 48 hours in regions with less than 15 per cent intensive care availability.
The new order prohibits “private gatherings of any size” and requires 100 per cent masking and physical distancing in all others.
The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks, and then can be lifted for regions whose projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 per cent.