US COVID deaths exceed 3,000 in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins

American authorities warned a spike in deaths was coming after millions traveled around the country for the Thanksgiving holiday last month, ignoring pleas to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.

Medical workers take in patients at a special coronavirus intake area at Maimonides Medical Center on 7 April 2020 in the Borough Park neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON, United States - The United States on Wednesday registered more than 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally -- the highest daily toll since April.

American authorities warned a spike in deaths was coming after millions traveled around the country for the Thanksgiving holiday last month, ignoring pleas to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.

As of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Thursday), the country had recorded a total of 289,188 COVID deaths, up by 3,071 in 24 hours. It also registered nearly 220,481 new cases.

California, where some 33 million people were back under lockdown this week, saw more than 30,000 cases on Wednesday -- the highest 24-hour tally in a US state, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The number of virus patients hospitalized in the US continues to break records, hitting 106,000 on Wednesday.

Over the past two weeks the US has exceeded 2,000 COVID-related deaths per day several times, rivalling tolls the worst-hit nation in the world saw in the early days of the pandemic.

Faced with massive and uncontrolled spread of the virus, American authorities have put their hopes in halting its spread on a vaccine.

US experts meet Thursday to examine Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine, which could be given emergency authorization in the coming days.

Some 15 million people have contracted COVID-19 in the US since the start of the pandemic.

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