The nation – which has logged nearly 14 million cases and over 273,000 deaths since the pandemic began – also recorded 200,070 new daily COVID-19 illnesses, though not surpassing a previous daily case record set Nov. 27 at 205,557.
The record daily death toll coincides with news of a record number of hospitalized coronavirus patients, topping 100,000 on Tuesday. The grim milestone comes as health officials warned of surges tied to holiday travel and lockdown fatigue.
Despite the startling daily record, Mexico holds the highest observed case-fatality ratio of 9.5% worldwide, compared to the U.S. at 2%. Also, Spain claims the most deaths per 100,000 people at 97.4, compared to the U.S. at nearly 83, per Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Wednesday addressed the ongoing pandemic, and warned that there will be tough times ahead.
“But the reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times,” Redfield said. “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health care system.”
“This virus really is going to require all of us to really be vigilant about wearing a mask…” he continued. “So, yeah, the mortality concerns are real. And I do think, unfortunately, before we see February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans have died from this virus.”
However, if Americans adhere to mitigation measures like wearing masks, social distancing, opting for outdoor events and practicing vigilant hand hygiene, Redfield said it “will begin to help us.”
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.