Peter Wells in New York
The US reported almost 3,700 coronavirus deaths on Friday, but the number of hospitalisations across the country fell to the lowest in nearly a fortnight.
Authorities attributed a further 3,679 fatalities to coronavirus, down from 3,915 on Thursday, according to Covid Tracking Project data. A record 4,087 were reported by states on Tuesday.
Over the past week 23,083 people in the US have died from coronavirus, averaging out to 3,298 a day and under the record rate of 3,335 reached on Wednesday.
The two most populous US states, California (637) and Texas (400), each reported among their three biggest daily increases in their deaths since the start of the pandemic. South Carolina (103) was the only state to report a record one-day increase in fatalities and was among a group of 11 states that reported at least 100 deaths.
Hopes that hospitalisations may have turned a corner were given another boost, and a majority of states are now dealing with fewer patients than a week ago.
The number of people currently in hospital with coronavirus fell to 127,235 from 128,947 on Thursday. That is the lowest level in 12 days and compared to the record of 132,474 on January 6.
That trend is being underpinned by California, which reported that hospitalisations (21,856) fell below 22,000 for the first time in 12 days. The number of hospitalisations in Texas (13,953) fell below 14,000 for the first time in four days.
Utah (635) was the only state to report a record level of hospitalisations on Friday. Thursday marked the first time since mid-September that just one state (North Carolina) reported a record level of hospitalisations.
There are nine states where hospitalisations are higher than they were seven days ago. This is the first time since March 24 that fewer than 10 states had more coronavirus patients than a week earlier, according to a Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data. As recently as two months ago, every state in the US was reporting rising levels of patients.
States reported 243,996 additional coronavirus cases on Friday, the most in a day since 266,399 were reported on January 9.New York (19,942) was the only state to report a record number of new infections.
Over the past week the US reported 1.59m new infections, or 227,365 a day, a decline of 7 per cent from a record rate on January 11.