THE US has suffered a grim new record of daily Covid-19 cases although the CDC has shot down claims a new highly contagious American strain is sweeping the country.
There were 310,080 new cases reported on Friday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, with California and New Jersey both suffering huge increases.
California recorded 50,000 cases while in New Jersey there were 20,000.
In the first eight days of the year there were 23,083 coronavirus deaths and 16 states recorded their highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations this week.
Currently there are 131,889 people hospitalized with Covid with 16 states recording their highest level of hospitalizations this week with 3,774 people dying from the virus on Friday.
New Jersey is the worst hit state since the start of the pandemic with a record 2,694 infections per million of population.
Kansas is the second-worst state with 1,889 cases per million people with Arizona in third with 1,602 infections per million people.
Health experts named Arizona as the new global coronavirus hot spot on Wednesday with the highest Covid-19 diagnosis rate in the country.
Since December 31, one in every 111 Arizonans has been diagnosed with the virus.
Nationwide, there have been more than 21.8million Americans infected with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic and 368,679 deaths.
The disturbing figures come as the Centers for Disease Control moved to reassure people there was not a new strain of the virus sweeping the nation which was highly contagious.
Officials believe reports that suggested a new mutation were based on speculative statements made by Dr Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, were her statements were said to be inaccurate.
Dr Birx warned the US could have its own mutant strain of the coronavirus during a recent meeting of the White House coronavirus taskforce.
She presented a series of graphs and charts, officials have said, which showed a serious spike in cases.
Birx speculated this could be because a new, more infectious variant of the virus is circulating – in the same way that Britain has been rocked by the new B.1.1.7 strain.
“This fall/winter surge has been at nearly twice the rate of rise of cases as the spring and summer surges,' a report sent to state governors stated which was leaked on Friday.
“This acceleration suggests there may be a USA variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in our communities and may be 50 per cent more transmissible.
“Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus.”
CDC officials though disagreed with Dr Birx’s assessment and, unsuccessfully, tried to get it removed from the report, according to the New York Times.
“To date, neither researchers nor analysts at CDC have seen the emergence of a particular variant in the United States,” spokesman Jason McDonald said.
He added all viruses evolve and there are likely many variants around the globe evolving simultaneously. “However, it could take weeks or months to identify if there is a single variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 fueling the surge in the United States similar to the surge in the United Kingdom.”
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