The United States has been hit by its worst surge of Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths yet, with 3,100 people killed by the virus in a single day. Figures from Johns Hopkins University showed that 3,157 people were killed by coronavirus on Wednesday, 20% higher than the previous single-day record of 2,603 deaths on April 15.

The total number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has also topped 100,000 for the first time, amid a dire warning from President-elect Joe Biden that the total number of people killed could double to more than 500,000 over the next two months.

Biden said Wednesday that the US faces a ‘dark winter,’ saying: ‘We’re likely to lose another 250,000 people dead between now and January You hear me? Because people aren’t paying attention.’

Recent weeks have seen the US record a million new Covid cases every six or seven days. Diagnoses hit 12 million on November 21, 13 million on November 27, and are now likely to hit 14 million on December 3.

The numbers came as Los Angeles County – which covers the entire Southern California metropolis – warned its 4 million residents to stay home.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to approve two Covid vaccines in the coming weeks, although mass-vaccinations are unlikely to gather steam until early 2021.