US daily COVID-19 cases hit record high of over 310,000, total surpasses 22 mln
The United States registered a record high of over 310,000 daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, whereas the country's total caseload surpassed 22 million on Saturday.
A total of 314,093 new cases and 3,623 deaths were reported across the country on Friday, according to the latest data of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new figures also brought the 7-day average daily increase of cases and deaths to a record high of nearly 249,000, and nearly 3,000, respectively, the data showed.
Meanwhile, the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University showed that the United States had registered over 22.1 million cases and over 372,100 deaths as of Saturday night.
More than 130,700 people had been hospitalized as of Saturday, said The COVID Tracking Project, noting that "average hospitalizations" in the country are "at their single-day record."
The COVID Tracking Project is a volunteer organization launched from US magazine The Atlantic and dedicated to collecting and publishing data on COVID-19 testing and patient outcomes.
"The past week had the most reported cases, average hospitalizations, and deaths of any week during the pandemic," said the organization, adding, "the average number of reported deaths is rising in all regions."
In particular, California, one of the US states hit the worst by the pandemic, reported 695 deaths on Saturday, the organization said. "The state is averaging more than 410 deaths and nearly 40,000 new cases a day."
Public health experts are concerned that the deadly Capitol unrest earlier this week may prove to be a "superspreader event" for the virus. Photos and videos showed many violent protesters shunning face coverings and social distancing, anti-pandemic measures recommended by the CDC.
Since it may take 4-14 days for the infected to develop symptoms, it will take several days to see how many new COVID-19 cases are linked to the unrest, Zhang Zuofeng, professor of epidemiology and associate dean for research with the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Xinhua.
"Rioters were in very close proximity for long periods of time, shouting, and exposed to chemical irritants, leading to coughing. Many of them were unmasked. These are all conditions that are very conducive to (COVID-19) transmission," Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, told ABC News.