Spotlight: U.S. hits record-high COVID-19 daily cases, hospitalizations as caseload tops 14 mln

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United States has set new world records of single-day COVID-19 case count and hospitalizations, as the total number of confirmed cases surpassed 14 million on Thursday.

It took only six days for the country to add another 1 million new infections.

A total of 196,227 new cases and 2,762 deaths were reported across the nation on Wednesday, according to data updated Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new daily case count set a new world record, bringing 7-day average daily increase to over 163,000. Wednesday also marked the 25th consecutive day that daily case increase in the United States surpassed 100,000.

The daily death count also marked a new high since late April.

The latest figure from The COVID Tracking Project showed there were 100,226 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the United States, the first time hospitalizations exceeded 100,000.

Long-term care facilities in the United States were hit hard by the pandemic with over 100,000 known COVID-19 deaths as of last week, according to the tracking project.

Residents of long-term care facilities make up about 40 percent of the nation's COVID-19 deaths and only 6 percent of cases.

The Midwest remains the epicenter of COVID-19 in U.S. long-term care facilities. The region has seen the highest number of reported cases and deaths every week since mid-November, according to the tracking project.

According to the CDC, the overall weekly hospitalization rate in the United States is at its highest point in the pandemic, with additional steep increases in individuals aged 65 years and older.

Many states are grappling with the surge of hospitalizations. More than 1,000 hospitals across the country are experiencing critical staffing shortages, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The reality is, December, January and February are going to be rough times, I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation -- largely because of the stress that's going to put on our healthcare system," said CDC Director Robert Redfield on Wednesday.

He urged Americans to continue mitigation efforts such as social distancing, wearing masks, limiting crowds and to not let their guards down during family gatherings.

Some states have imposed new restrictions in face of worsening situation. California issued new stay-home order which will go into effect within 48 hours in regions with less than 15 percent intensive care availability.

The new order prohibits "private gatherings of any size" and requires 100 percent masking and physical distancing in all others. The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks, and then can be lifted for regions whose projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent.

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