For the second straight day, the U.S. reported a record number of coronavirus cases, according to NBC News' tally of national data.
The nation reported 278,920 new Covid-19 cases Saturday, surpassing Friday's one-day record of 269,420.
On Saturday, 3,603 people in the U.S. died of virus-related causes, but that was not a record. Thursday's death toll of 4,110 marked the latest pandemic mortality peak in the United States.
The numbers reflect a predicted deadly surge of coronavirus cases linked to holiday gatherings and travel.
The U.S. on Friday surpassed 22 million cases since the pandemic began.
California has been particularly hard hit during the surge, with 52,636 cases and 695 deaths reported through Friday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Virginia group called Facts & Faith on Friday that if vaccinations are completed for a wide swath of people in the U.S. by the end of summer, the nation "can start approaching reasonable normality by fall 2021."