Peter Wells in New York
The US reported record levels of new coronavirus cases and hospitalisations on Friday, while daily death rates remain at their highest in more than six months.
States reported 192,805 cases, surpassing the previous record set on Thursday by nearly 10,000 infections, according to Covid Tracking Project data.
Over the past week, the US has added 1.15m cases, a record for a seven-day period and more than what most countries have confirmed for the entire pandemic.
While the Midwest has been the focal point for the autumn phase of the pandemic, cases, hospitalisations and deaths are rising in almost every state across the country.
The broad spread has prompted several cities and states to introduce or tighten coronavirus mitigation measures in recent days. These have included: imposing late-night curfews, shifting schools to remote-only learning, ordering businesses like bars, restaurants and gyms to halt their indoor operations, tightening mask mandates and restricting social gatherings.
Of particular concern is the upward trends in the sunbelt, which was the focal point for the outbreak during the summer and is now experiencing another wave of cases. California and Texas, the two most populous states in the US, reported their biggest daily jumps in new coronavirus cases of the entire pandemic on Friday and Thursday, respectively, as per data from their health departments. Florida and Arizona this week had among their biggest daily increases since their summer peaks.
In the Midwest, Michigan (10,140) and Ohio (8,808) reported record one-day jumps in cases on Friday, according to Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data, but most of the other 10 states in the region had increases close to recent peaks.
Hospitalisations set a record for the 11th day running, with 82,178 people in hospitals across the country being treated for coronavirus.
States attributed a further 1,862 deaths to Covid-19, down from a six-month high of 1,971 on Thursday. Over the past week, the US has averaged 1,328 fatalities a day, the highest level since mid-May.
On Friday, the seven-day average of deaths hit its highest level of the pandemic in 13 states, including Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah and Wisconsin. It was the highest proportion of states reaching records since early May, according to FT analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.
Notably, Illinois’ seven-day average rose to a record 129, surpassing the long-standing peak of 117 on May 13 when it — and states like New York and New Jersey in the northeast — was hard hit during the early stage of the pandemic.