WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States recorded more than 4,000 deaths from COVID-19 in a single day on Thursday, a new grim milestone since the onset of the pandemic in the country.
A total of 279,401 new cases and 4,180 deaths were reported across the nation on Thursday, according to data updated Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Both figures are the highest daily counts since the pandemic hit the country.
This brought the 7-day average daily increase of cases to a record-high of nearly 228,000.
The country reported over 131,800 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Friday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
Eight days into the new year, the country had already seen 23,083 COVID-19 deaths, data showed.
A total of 16 states reported their highest numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations this week. Hospitalizations in California and Arizona are increasing at alarming rates. Arizona has far surpassed their summer surge, according to the tracking project.
California, an epic center of the pandemic in the country, is reporting 380 deaths per day on average, according to the tracking project.
Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, reported on Friday 318 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the first time that more than 300 daily new deaths were counted.
The county reported 18,313 new coronavirus cases on Friday, one of the highest number of daily new cases, bringing the overall tally since the start of the pandemic to 889,405.
The White House coronavirus task force has warned there would be a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus that evolved in the United States and is fueling spread of the virus.
The new strain, in addition to the variant found in Britain, is already spreading in communities and may be 50 percent more transmissible, according to a report obtained by U.S. media that the task force issued to states on Jan. 3.
The country had identified 52 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in Britain, according to data updated by the CDC on Thursday.
The United States has recorded more than 21.8 million COVID-19 cases with over 369,000 related deaths as of Saturday morning, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.