The United States has reported more than one million new COVID-19 cases in a single day, setting a grim new global record, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

 

There were 1,082,549 new cases in the US reported on Monday following the long New Year’s weekend, according to the tracking group.

The number of cases reported on a Monday is typically higher than other days because of delays in weekend tallying, especially after a three-day holiday weekend.

The figure reported on January 3, however, is double the number of daily cases compared with the previous Monday.

The rolling average of new cases over seven days, which experts see as more reliable, was 501,205 new daily cases as of Tuesday morning, the university reported.

The new data comes after top US pandemic adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said the country was experiencing “almost a vertical increase” in coronavirus cases. The peak, he said, maybe only weeks away.

The Omicron variant, the most transmissible strain to date, accounted for about 59 per cent of US cases in the week ending December 25, according to government modelling.

Fauci said the experience of South Africa – where the strain was first detected in late November and peaked quickly, then subsided nearly as speedily – offered some hope.

Rates of death and hospitalisation in the US have been lower in recent weeks compared with previous spikes in case numbers.

More than 36,400 people in the US have died from COVID-19 in the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins data released on Tuesday. The country recorded more than 6.9 million new cases over that period.

In the past seven days, the country has recorded more than 3.36 million new cases, according to Johns Hopkins research, another record.

The US record during previous waves was 258,000 cases per day, for the week of January 5 to 11, 2021.

US officials have struggled to find a balance that will protect public health without gravely damaging the economy or slamming key services like policing and air travel.

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) halved the isolation period for asymptomatic COVID cases to five days, in a bid to blunt mass Omicron-induced disruption as infections hit new highs in multiple states.

Separately on Tuesday, the CDC shortened the recommended interval between the second dose and booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from six months to five months.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, more than 827,800 Americans have died from COVID-19.

Sixty-three per cent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins data.

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