THE US has been rocked by the world’s single worst day for fresh cases during the pandemic after 59,400 new sufferers were detected.
More than three million people across America have now been struck down by Covid-19, according to official statistics.
The worrying new coronavirus cases figure is the highest any country has recorded in a 24 hour period.
And it was the fifth US record set in just nine days – easily passing Friday’s previous record of 56,567.
The worrying news comes as the deadly virus continues to spread in the west and the south and the death toll passed 134,000.
At least five states – Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia – set single-day records for new infections on Wednesday.
America’s daily number of new cases has now soared by more than 70 per cent in the last fortnight.
More than 20 states this week reported their worst weekly figures yet.
In Texas, 9,900 new cases were reported on Wednesday – its third consecutive day of record cases.
And in Arizona they have been averaging more than 3,600 new cases a day -which is another new record.
Health officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said President Trump’s campaign rally there last month and the protests that took place at the same time “likely contributed” to a spike in cases.
“In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,” Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr Bruce Dart said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, said on a Wall Street Journal podcast: “Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down.”
The White House’s chief medial advisor was speaking as states around the country continue to see spikes in cases as lockdowns are lifted.
Despite the rise, the White House wants to press forward with some reopenings, including for schools.
And US Vice-President Mike Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, argued rules should not be “too tough”.
Cases were flattening out, he said, while Trump said on Tuesday that America was “in a good place” regarding the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Pence defended the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
“While we mourn with those who mourn, because of what the American people have done, because of the extraordinary work of our healthcare workers around the country, we are encouraged that the average fatality rate continues to be low and steady,” he said.
He added that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to now issue new guidelines on reopening schools.
That announcement came after Mr Trump criticized a plan put forward by the expert body as “very tough and expensive” and threatened to cut off funding to schools that don’t open in the autumn.
“The president said today we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Mr Pence said.
“That’s the reason why, next week, CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”
The worldwide number of coronavirus cases has now passed the 12 million mark – of which nearly 550,000 have died.
The number of cases is triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organisation
The first case was reported in China in early January and it took 149 days to hit six million cases.
It has taken less than a third of that time to double to 12 million cases, Reuters revealed.