The United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting over 91 000 new cases, as hospitalisations also hit new highs in many states, according to a Reuters tally.
The spike in cases comes less a week before the presidential election on Tuesday.
Among the hardest hit by the latest COVID-19 surge are hotly contested states such as Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that will play an important role in deciding whether Republican President Donald Trump gets a second term or Democratic challenger Joe Biden becomes president.
The virus is also rapidly spreading to record levels in Europe, with France and Germany announcing nationwide lockdowns this week.
The previous one-day record for US cases was 84 169 on October 23. Globally, India holds the record for new cases in a single day at 97 894 infections on September 17.
The White House coronavirus task force said the nation is heading in the wrong direction and warned of an “unrelenting”spread that requires aggressive action to curb new infections.
On Thursday, 12 states set one-day records for new cases:Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oregon.
In addition to new infections, deaths and hospitalisations are also rising.
For the third time in October, more than 1 000 people died of the virus in a single day on Thursday.
Over 229 000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, the world’s highest death toll.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen over 50% in October to 46 000, the highest since mid-August.