George Russell in Hong Kong
US states reported 215,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday and at least 3,695 deaths, according to a leading data index.
While case counts continue to decline in the Midwest, reported deaths are still more than triple what they were in October, the Covid Tracking Project reported.
Fatalities are 50 per cent higher than the worst of the northern spring in the region, it added.
CTP said new-case and hospital admission numbers are at “very high absolute levels”, but both measures have “levelled off” in all regions.
On Saturday, California announced 40,622 new cases and a further 669 deaths.
Texas recorded 20,530 and 381 deaths, while New York State detected 19,469 new cases and 206 deaths.
With more than 2m tests taken on Saturday, the seven-day testing average for tests is at a record high, CTP said.
The CTP said data would be disrupted in the coming week due to the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday and the presidential inauguration on Wednesday.
A woman wears a mask at a political demonstration in Denver
“Some states have already announced future delays in reporting,” CTP said at the weekend.
Last week, the CTP demanded that the US government release more data to provide a clearer picture of the pandemic.
“Demographic data from many states are astonishingly incomplete,” Erin Kissane, CTP cofounder, and Alice Goldfarb, who leads the CTP Racial Data Tracker, wrote in The Atlantic.
“Even widely collected information, such as the age of patients at the time of diagnosis or death, is so inconsistently presented that it has been impossible to assemble into a clear national picture,” they added.
The project has also called for more detailed vaccination data.
“The [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is publishing data on vaccine distribution and first doses administered — which is a good starting point — but it has not yet released any demographic data,” Ms Kissane and Ms Goldfarb wrote.