In the US, someone died of COVID-19 every 33 seconds last week.
The disease claimed more than 18,000 deaths in the seven days leading up to December 20, up 6.7% from the previous week to hit another record high, according to Reuters analysis of reports from states and counties.
Despite requests from health officials not to travel during the year-end holiday season, 3.2 million people were screened at U.S. airports on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Health officials fear that a surge in infections from holiday gatherings could overwhelm hospitals, some of which are already at full capacity after the Thanksgiving celebrations.
And while the country has started delivering two new vaccines, it may take months for vaccinations to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The number of new COVID-19 cases last week fell 1% to nearly 1.5 million. Tennessee, California and Rhode Island had the highest per capita new cases in the country, according to Reuters analysis. In terms of deaths per capita, Iowa, South Dakota and Rhode Island were hardest hit.
In the United States, 11.3% of tests were positive for the virus, compared with 12% the previous week. This is based on data from the voluntary COVID tracking project. Out of 50 states, 31 had a positive test rate of 10% or more. The highest rates were in Iowa and Idaho at over 40%.
The World Health Organization views positive test rates above 5% as worrying as it indicates that there are more cases in the community that have not yet been detected.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)