The US notched 57,683 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours Friday, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed, the third consecutive day with record numbers of new infections.
The Baltimore-based university’s tracker showed the total number of cases since the pandemic reached the US at 2,793,022 as of 8:30 pm (0030 Saturday GMT).
The university also recorded a further 728 fatalities, bringing the total US death toll to 129,405.
The new record case count came as infections surge in southern and western states, and as the United States — the hardest-hit country in the world in the coronavirus pandemic — heads into the July Fourth holiday weekend.
“It is an unbelievable trajectory,” said Faisal Masud, director of critical care at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, which officials say is dangerously close to being overwhelmed.
But while Europe and much of Asia have largely managed to bring the virus under control — so much so that England was preparing to reopen restaurants and cinemas — in the US it has claimed nearly 130,000 lives amid a sharp resurgence of cases which top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said “puts the entire country at risk.”
US President Donald Trump — at Mount Rushmore for a fireworks celebration with thousands of attendees in close quarters and masks not required — has so far dismissed the deluge of new cases.
In a tweet late Thursday he said the rise was because “our testing is so massive and so good, far bigger and better than any other country,” calling that “great news.”
He added: “Even better news is that death, and the death rate, is DOWN.”
But his predecessor Barack Obama called for Americans to be “safe and smart.”
“It’s going to take all of us to beat this virus. So wear a mask. Wash your hands. And listen to the experts, not the folks trying to divide us,” he tweeted Friday