The US has reported more than 83,000 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a new daily record for the world’s worst affected country.
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows there were on Friday 83,757 cases confirmed on Friday, as well as 6,306 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
A total of 223,975 deaths have now been recorded in the country.
The huge surge in cases came as hospitals warned they were running out of space for new patients.
“We’ve essentially shut down an entire floor of our hospital. We’ve had to double rooms. We’ve bought more hospital beds,” said Dr. Robert Scoggins, a pulmonologist at the Kootenai Health hospital in northern Idaho. “Our hospital is not built for a pandemic.”
In the southern Idaho city of Twin Falls, St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center said it would no longer accept children because it is overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Except for newborns, all under age 18 will be sent 128 miles (206 kilometers) away in Boise.
Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert proclaimed Friday to be “a record day for Utah — but not a good one” as COVID-19 cases reached an all-time high for the state.
“Up until now, our hospitals have been able to provide good care to all COVID and non-COVID patients who need it,” he said. “But today we stand on the brink. If Utahans do not take serious steps to limit group gatherings and wear masks, our healthcare providers will not have the ability to provide quality care for everyone who needs it.”
On Thursday the US recorded 71,671 new cases.
The US surge mirrors a similarly widespread spike in Europe, where Rome, Paris and other major cities are reining in nightlife as part of the increasingly drastic measures undertaken to slow the spread of the pandemic.
French authorities said the country had recorded over 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach that number.
The head of the World Health Organization warned that countries in the Northern Hemisphere are at a “critical juncture” as cases and deaths continue to rise.
“The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing on Friday.