201210 California
Artists Livia Westcott-Lahar, foreground, and Lauren Szabo paint walls next to beds set up at an Alternative Care Site for the City and County of San Francisco, a low acuity continuing care field hospital not yet open to patients, in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Washington: 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 travelled around the country for the Thanksgiving holiday in November, ignoring pleas to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.

As of 8.30pm (4.30am UAE Thursday), the country had recorded a total of 289,188 COVID-19 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.