WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) — The United States has reported over 400,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Friday, setting a gloomy new world record as the country is preparing distribution of second COVID-19 vaccine to states.

A total of 403,359 new cases and 2,756 deaths were reported across the country on Friday, according to data updated Saturday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new data brought the seven-day average daily case increase to a record-high of 238,923 cases, and the seven-day average daily death increase to over 2,500.

There are a record 114,751 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to latest data of The COVID Tracking Project.

“17 days into December, this month is already the second deadliest of the pandemic,” the project tweeted on Friday.

Over 42,500 deaths were reported with COVID-19 across the nation in December so far, according to the project.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a key COVID-19 model, projects the national daily death toll to continue increasing to a peak of over 3,750 in mid-January.

The model projects 562,000 cumulative COVID-19 deaths on April 1 next year, which represents 262,000 additional deaths from Dec. 14 to April 1.