The US has recorded the highest number of new coronavirus deaths in a single day since April and has come perilously close to topping its record for new cases confirmed in a single day.
Meanwhile, the number of people in hospital with the virus also reached a new record, eclipsing 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.
Amid radio silence from President Donald Trump, three former US presidents have taken a stand and volunteered to be filmed having the coronavirus jab to encourage widespread vaccination.
As Mr Trump continues to ignore the crisis, CNN reports that George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have stepped into the leadership void.
The three former presidents from both sides of politics have said they would get inoculated on TV to encourage people to take up a coronavirus vaccine.
“I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science,” Mr Obama told Sirius XM radio.
Mr Bush is willing to get a vaccine on camera once the US Food and Drug Administration grants emergency approval, according to his chief of staff Freddy Ford.
Mr Clinton’s spokesman, Angel Urena, said he would “definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials”.
“He will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same,” she wrote in an email.
Data from Johns Hopkins University reveals 2804 Americans died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, obliterating the previous record by about 7.5 per cent.
The last time the single-day death toll was this high was on April 15, when the US recorded 2609 COVID deaths.
The past 24 hours also saw the second biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases reported, with 200,070 new infections.
The previous record rise in new confirmed cases was set just last Friday, with 205,557 new cases.
According to the Covid Tracking Project, the total number of Americans who are in hospital with the virus has hit six figures for the first time – 100,226 to be exact.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention expects the next few months to be especially difficult.
“The reality is that December, January and February are going to be rough times,” director Robert Redfield said.
“I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” he said in a livestream presentation hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
“The mortality concerns are real and I do think unfortunately before we see February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans that have died from this virus.”
Across the US, the coronavirus is already blamed for more than 270,000 deaths and about 14 million confirmed infections.
The World Health Organisation’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said on Thursday that the promise of COVID-19 vaccines was “potentially game-changing”.