The U.S. recorded 71,671 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the most in one day since the outbreak hit alarming heights in July, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. One day earlier, around 63,000 new cases had been reported.
The U.S. also recorded 856 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, raising the death toll to more than 223,000 people lost to the pandemic.
U.S. cases have been rising sharply since the middle of September, when the daily rate was hovering around 40,000 cases.
Public health experts are now watching to see if Thursday's results are an aberration or part of an ominous new pattern. When the U.S. hit a record of more than 77,000 cases in mid-July, it topped the 70,000-mark on several other days as well — and the numbers stayed worryingly high through the end of the month.
U.S. testing levels have risen gradually since July. While 856,567 tests were reported on July 16 – the date of the previous high – the country reported more than a million tests on two days this week. The U.S. first surpassed the million-test mark in mid-September.
The new surge is different from the summer. Many states are now propelling the new cases, rather than a few large states driving the rise, as NPR reported earlier this week.
Hospitalizations in the U.S. have also risen above the 40,000 mark this week for the first time since Aug. 21, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The U.S. has reported more than 8.4 million coronavirus cases, trailed by India with 7.7 million and Brazil with 5.3 million cases.
Here are the 10 states with the most coronavirus cases in the past seven days as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
North Carolina: 14,185
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