WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. reported more than 121,000 infections Thursday, beating a daily case record it set just 24 hours ago.
The grim tally comes after Wednesday's record of more than 100,000 cases, which was the first time the US hit a six-figure number of infections. That means in just two days, the country reported more than 220,000 positive tests, bringing the past week's total to more than 660,000 new cases of the virus.
As nationwide cases soar, the number of hospitalized Americans is also climbing, with now more than 53,000 patients across the U.S., according to the COVID Tracking Project. And doctors have warned that as those numbers move upward, a rise in deaths will follow.
The U.S. reported 1,210 deaths Thursday, the third day in a row the nation lost more than 1,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. now averages 895 deaths a day, and the number is rising rapidly, Johns Hopkins data show.
Three states reported record-high deaths on Thursday, according to JHU: New Mexico, North Dakota and Tennessee.
In the Midwest — where communities have been hit particularly hard and outbreaks are only worsening — hospitalizations are up "following the region's sharply accelerating case surge," the project said in a Thursday blog post.
"Reported deaths from the Midwest are rising as well, several weeks into that region's case surge," the project said.
More than 234,900 Americans have died since the pandemic's start and an ensemble forecast published Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects another 31,000 people could lose their lives over the next two and a half weeks.
In New Mexico, where health officials have sounded the alarm for weeks over a COVID-19 crisis, the daily number of COVID-19 deaths hit a record high. Hospitalizations have shot up by 260% in the last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said, and health officials added they expect to run out of general hospital beds "in a matter of days."
The governor said the state is "not trending anywhere in the right direction" and urged residents to follow public health guidance aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
"If we don't do them, more drastic decision-making will occur, and we will have a horrible November and a dramatically bad December," the governor said.
'It is everywhere'
In the first five days of November — as the country has focused on its presidential election — 20 states have reported at least one record-high day of new cases, according to Johns Hopkins data.
The states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia.
In October, 31 states reported at least one record-high day of new cases during the entire month.
New Mexico is one of at least 38 states reporting more new COVID-19 infections than the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins. Only two U.S. states — Alabama and Tennessee — are trending in the right direction.
In Minnesota, health officials reported more than 3,900 new cases Thursday — the highest daily total for the state and the third day in a row that single-day cases reach a new high.
In Utah, where warnings have been echoed by state officials for weeks, Thursday's 2,807 new cases broke a daily record.
Gov. Gary Herbert said the numbers were "grim news" and "discouraging," and predicted the state would continue to see "this dramatic increase, unless we modify and change our behavior."
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine meanwhile warned of community spread as the state also reported a record-high of COVID-19 cases Thursday.
"It is everywhere, we can't hide from it, we can't run from it," the governor said during a news conference. "The risk of catching this virus in every county is very real."
New state restrictions target gatherings
With the virus now running rampant across American communities, several state leaders have pushed new measures to help curb the spread.
In Connecticut, new measures are going into effect Friday, which will place new limits on restaurants, religious ceremonies and event spaces. The governor also announced Thursday tightened restrictions around private gatherings, which will extend through the Thanksgiving holiday season.
Public health officials nationwide have pointed to gatherings as a major driving force behind COVID-19 surges. And Gov. Ned Lamont also recommended earlier this week that residents stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to limit socializing.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced new restrictions taking effect Sunday, including a stay-at-home advisory that will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and will begin at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
"I'm asking for voluntary compliance," said Raimondo, who announced the new advisory in response to a rise in infections.
Also, effective Sunday, all restaurants, gyms, and recreational facilities must close at 10 p.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Raimondo said, while restaurants can stay open later only for takeout.
The governor also said the main source of the virus spread has been gatherings like large house parties.
If those don't stop, the governor said, "I will be back in two weeks with a shutdown order."
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