The United States just recorded its highest weekly COVID-19 death toll as it experiences a surge in cases.

The nation recorded a seven-day average of 2,249 deaths last week, according to The New York Times, breaking the previous record of 2,232 set in April.

There have been more than 283,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. as of Tuesday morning, according to data from the Times. In addition, the nation is averaging about 200,000 cases per day, and has recorded more than 15 million cases in total.

The records come as the U.S. experiences a surge heading into the winter months, when experts have warned that the colder weather would force more people indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.

However, as the Times notes, most of the hardest-hit counties are now in the Midwest, as opposed to big urban areas that were the focus when the virus peaked in April. North Dakota has the highest total reported cases by population, according to the newspaper, followed by South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

The peak also comes against the backdrop of holiday celebrations, which experts have warned will lead to more cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against traveling for Christmas last week amid fears that gatherings during the holiday could spread more cases.

Similar guidance was issued ahead of Thanksgiving, but many Americans disobeyed it and travel rates on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving reached their highest levels since March.

Meanwhile, the White House coronavirus task force warned states that a further surge in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday could overwhelm the health care system and compromise patient care.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19

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