File Photo: Patients wear masks as they wait in line for a COVID-19 test at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City (AP)
Coronavirus cases in the United States surged by at least 120,276 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, the second consecutive daily record rise as the outbreak spreads in every region.
US cases have risen by over 100,000 for three out of the last seven days, putting pressure on hospitals in several states and causing families to rethink their plans for Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 26.
Twenty out of 50 states reporting record one-day increases on Thursday. Previously, the most states that reported records for new cases in a single day was 16 on Oct. 30, according to Reuters data.
While the spread of the virus is wide, the outbreak is hitting the Midwest particularly hard, based on daily new cases per capita.
Illinois reported nearly 10,000 new cases on Thursday and along with Texas is leading the United States in the most cases reported in the last seven days.
Other Midwestern states with record increases in cases on Thursday were Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Kentucky, Oregon, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia also set records for rises in new infections.
Some cities and states have announced new measures such as curfews or reduced gathering sizes to combat the spread of the virus, but the United States has taken no action at the federal level.
Seventeen out of 50 states do not require masks.
Many countries in Europe are shutting high-risk businesses and even ordering national or regional lockdowns in the face of a second wave of the virus.
In addition to rising cases, US hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients rose to over 52,500 on Thursday, up for an 11th consecutive day and getting closer to the record of 58,370 set in July.
North Dakota reported only eight free intensive care unit beds in the entire state on Thursday. Hospitalization are a key metric because they are not affected by the amount of testing done.
Coronavirus deaths are trending higher but not at the same rate as cases. The United States is averaging 850 deaths a day, up from 700 a month ago.
In recent days, six states have reported their highest one-day increases in pandemic deaths: Arkansas, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of American life, including a record number of voters mailing in their ballots in Tuesday's elections.