The US has recorded a record number of daily deaths and cases as the COVID crisis worsens in the country.
The number of Americans hospitalised due to COVID-19 topped 100,000 for the first time on Wednesday, with the nation recording some 200,000 new cases a day, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Topping 2,700 deaths a day, the country has now a total of over 270,000 deaths and 13.9 million cases. Officials warn that those numbers will rise especially with millions of Americans travelling home after Thanksgiving weekend.
“The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they are going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” Dr Robert Redfield, head of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Wednesday.
Many of the largest outbreaks are currently in the country's midwest with some states recording thousands of cases a day.
"As we sit here today, 90% of our hospitals in this nation are actually in what we call one of the hot zones in the red zone, therefore at risk for increased hospitalisation and potential to negatively impact hospital capacity. 90% of all of our long term care facilities now are in what we call high transmission zones," said Redfield.
Some cities have reinstated strict measures amid rising cases.
Notably, New York City decided to close schools in November when the COVID-19 positivity rate passed 3% but has gradually brought students back to in-person learning.
Some Americans returning from Thanksgiving faced new restrictions. Los Angeles County issued a new stay at home order prohibiting gatherings.
At the state level, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that “if these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.”
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, earlier this week that the crisis in the US would not "all of a sudden turn around.”
“So clearly in the next few weeks, we’re going to have the same sort of thing. And perhaps even two or three weeks down the line ... we may see a surge upon a surge,” Fauci said.