WASHINGTON (REUTERS, AFP) - The United States reported nearly 55,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday (July 2), the largest daily increase any country has ever reported, according to a Reuters tally.
A surge in coronavirus cases across the US over the past week has put President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis under the microscope and led several governors to halt plans to reopen their states after strict lockdowns.
The daily US tally stood at 54,879 late on Thursday, topping the previous single day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19.
Just two weeks ago, the US was reporting about 22,000 new cases a day.
It has now reported more than 40,000 cases for seven straight days and broken records for new cases three days in a row.
New infections rose in 37 out of 50 US states in the past 14 days compared with the two weeks prior in early June.
Florida reported the biggest increase of any state so far on Thursday, recording over 10,000 new cases in a single day.
With 21 million residents, the state has reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.
Meanwhile, a tally by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University showed 53,069 more cases as of 8.30pm on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 2,735,339.
The university also recorded a further 649 fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 128,677 across the US.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned earlier this week the daily increase in new US cases could reach 100,000 without nationwide measures to slow the rate.
While testing rates have increased, so has the percentage of positive results.
Hospitalisations have also skyrocketed.
Nationally, 7 per cent of coronavirus diagnostic tests came back positive last week, up from 5 per cent the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis.
Arizona's positivity test rate was 24 per cent last week, Florida's was 16 per cent.
Nevada, South Carolina and Texas were all at 15 per cent, the analysis found.
The second consecutive day of a record-high case count came as the US - the hardest-hit country in the world in the coronavirus pandemic - headed into the July Fourth holiday weekend.